IPAWS will reach more people than Code Red system

Hannibal residents will soon be receiving additional emergency notification messages through the International Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS).

The Hannibal City Council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute an agreement with Onsolve, LLC Code Red allowing IPAWS to be used in Hannibal during its March 5 meeting.

IPAWS, which is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, unites the Emergency Alert System, National Warning System, Wireless Emergency Alerts and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio under a single informational platform.

IPAWS can only be used in conjunction with an existing emergency notification system such as Code Red.

Unlike Code Red, which requires Hannibal residents to sign up for the service, IPAWS will be capable of reaching more people,since it will have contact numbers that the Code Red system does not have.

Last August, John Hark, emergency management director for the Marion County and city of Hannibal, said IPAWS would have the capability of reaching Hannibal visitors who might be unaware when severe weather is approaching.

"Anybody from out-of-state who is traveling through our community, if a tornado warning goes out for this area, their cell phone will pick it up via IPAWS," he said.

Hannibal has had a service agreement with Code Red since 2012. The Code Red system, operated through Marion County 911, allows emergency notification messages for tornado warnings, flash flooding and even missing children. Code Red can be used to notify specific areas of the community if, for example, the Hannibal Board of Public Works needed to notify a neighborhood of a boil order.

City Manager Jeff LaGarce said there is no additional fee to provide the IPAWS service. All that is required is for the existing agreement with Onsolve LLC Code Red to be reenacted at the same price.

"To a large extent this is a housekeeping measure only," LaGarce wrote in a memo to the city council.

Hannibal is not the county's only Code Red participant.

"Marion County as a whole uses Code Red," LaGarce said. "The city of Hannibal sponsors of the service, the Marion County and the city of Palmyra reimburse Hannibal annually for their portions on a per capita basis. Thus, the city of Hannibal's fee for Code Red only applies to areas in Hannibal."