New app to keep Gallatin residents safe during emergencies

Gallatin has added CodeRed alerts to help keep citizens safe during emergencies. (WSMV)

A new app is changing the way people stay informed about emergencies in Gallatin.

The city recently joined the CodeRED app to let officials do what they couldn’t before, send an alert directly to a person’s smart phone. City officials said the county and some other cities already use the app, so it was time to be part of the system.

The city went live on the emergency communications system before the 12th anniversary of the deadly tornado outbreak in Gallatin this week.

It ripped up Volunteer State Community College - a sight spokesman Eric Melcher will never forget.

“We put stuff over our head, and we just held ourselves. And when it hit, debris shot down that hallway and all the ceiling tiles lifted up,” said Melcher.

Since then, Vol State launched text alerts for students and was named StormReady by the National Weather Service. The city of Gallatin also made some changes, going live with CodeRED.

“Downloading it would benefit you if you’re traveling, and there’s some activity they want you to be aware of in that community,” said Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown.

The mayor said the city can push messages out to residents on smart phones, a new capability for public safety officials.

“Nothing is problem proof. You have so many opportunities to stay abreast of what could happen. Certainly in tornado weather, you could have no tornado and then you could have one instantly,” said Brown.

Sirens malfunction or may be ignored, so the app gives the city another way to reach residents. No matter how you get your information, people who lived through the 2006 tornado said don’t get complacent.

“I certainly take it a lot more seriously. But every now and then, I get reminded that maybe I’m not taking it as seriously as I should, and I think that’s important for people not to let their guard down,” said Melcher.

Gallatin city leaders said they also can send other types of community messages, such as a missing person report or water main breaks.

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