By Jesse Wood
July 4, 2014. Following the escape of two inmates during the past week, Watauga County’s Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Sudderth encourages citizens with cell phones to sign up for emergency alerts through the county’s CodeRED emergency notification system.
Sudderth noted that landlines are automatically added to the list. According to the signup website, the local emergency response team will provide critical community alerts for evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, missing child reports and more.
If folks who resided in the communities of Foscoe and Old U.S. 421 in Eastern Watauga, where the two inmates escaped, were already registered prior to this week, they would have received a notice to lock their doors and stay inside.
“Following the escapee – it would be good to make sure that citizens are registered to receive emergency messages,” Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman wrote in an email.
This system was utilized from 2007 to 2009 until “budget constraints” caused the system to be discontinued, according to a High Country Press article in December 2011, at which time it was revived.
“The administration and the commissioners really felt it was important to get this feature back so that we could keep the citizens in Watauga County fully informed,” Sudderth said at the time.