The village soon will have another way to notify residents about gas leaks, crime and severe weather.

The village soon will have another way to notify residents about gas leaks, crime and severe weather.

New Albany is on its way to activating the CodeRED emergency notification system that could inform residents of emergency situations through a telephone call.

Residents are encouraged to sign up cellular and unlisted numbers, but New Albany police Chief Mark Chaney said they don't have to register to receive a call.

"You do not have to sign up for it. In fact, the CodeRED system uses existing databases of phone numbers," he said. "I do encourage people with unlisted numbers to sign up, or people with cell phones as their home phone."

Residents may register multiple numbers to receive a notification, which could result in a call at work or while on vacation, Chaney said.

Though the system uses a database of phone numbers, Chaney said, it also uses a mapping system that could target specific areas affected by an emergency.

"What's nice is, the mapping software included in CodeRED will allow us to draw a certain area," he said. "For example, there is a chemical spill. We can find the wind speed and put it in a map, and (CodeRED) will call people and businesses in that area, based upon wind speed."

With an emergency system that takes into account wind speed and other variants, Chaney said, since training, the police department has been mapping village neighborhoods to help the system work more effectively.

"Since we've had training on the system, we have been able to take neighborhoods and a map of New Albany and divide it into neighborhoods," he said. "For example, if there's a lost child, we can target that area. Somebody living 5 miles away isn't going to get that call."

The CodeRED system will be used not only in the case of severe weather, crime, flooding and missing children or elderly but also by the public-services department if needed.

"This is not just for the police department. Our public-service director, Mark Nemec, has people trained on this. Joe Stefanov (village administrator) has people trained at village hall," he said. "This could be for an emergency that has to do with public service -- for example, a water shutoff in an area."

Although testing on the system is expected to begin soon, Chaney said, any troubles will be worked out as CodeRED is used.

"During the first few times and down the line for emergencies, we'll find out what works best and fine-tune it as it goes along," Chaney said. "I encourage people to sign up additional numbers and cell numbers. Hopefully, this is one of those insurance policies that we'll never have to use."