New emergency alert system for Harlan County

Published 12:42 pm Friday, July 15, 2022

Staying alert for emergencies such as weather events and natural disasters is important. Harlan County residents looking for the fastest way to remain alert may sign up for Hyper-Reach, an early warning service available through the county.

Harlan County Emergency Management Director David McGill talked about some of the reasons to sign up for the mass notification service. He explained the primary purpose of the service in Harlan County is to provide early warning for weather events.

“You can sign up to receive different types of warnings, such as thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings, flood warnings, those types of things,” McGill said. “You can select what sort of events you want to be notified about and whether you want to be notified with a text message or a phone call.”

According to McGill, the service can be used with cell phones or landlines. When signing up, a person enters their address, and the system will send out a warning when an event impacts that area.

“Once you put in your address, that’s the location it alerts you about,” McGill said. “For example, if you live in Loyall and you happen to be in another area, you will get the alert for Loyall.”

McGill pointed out the reason the warnings are address specific is so users will not receive warnings that do not impact them.

“You can get complacent with the warnings if they are going off all the time,” McGill said. “We’re trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

McGill suggested employers may wish to sign up with their business location as well.

The system also provides alerts for non-weather-related emergencies.

“This is not only for weather events, it’s also for other emergencies that might occur,” McGill said. “It may be a hazmat incident where you need to evacuate your home or some type of incident where you would need to shelter in place. It’s for many different types of emergencies.”

McGill noted the system is set up to be recognizable when a call is made.

“There are a lot of spam calls these days,” McGill said. “When it calls, it will show up as Harlan County EMA so people will know it’s a legit phone call.”

The service is available county-wide.

“It’s a free service,” McGill said. “It doesn’t cost any money to sign up.”

McGill added the service is another tool in the toolbox when it comes to staying alert.

“We urge people to have three ways to be notified when something is going on,” McGill said. “This can be one form or notification. A weather radio would be another form of notification, so would television. Always try to have access to three forms of notification in the event of severe weather or an emergency.”

Harlan County has seen a number of severe weather warnings recently, with some of them occurring at night.

“We’ve had a lot of severe weather at night, and that’s the most dangerous time,” McGill said. “You can’t see the sky as easy as you can during the day, and a lot of people have gone to bed. It’s very important that you have some way of being alerted during that time.”

The Hyper-Reach system is replacing the previous service, Code Red.

“If people signed up for Code Red in the past, they need to sign up for this system,” McGill said. “This system is better, and it also saves money for the county.”

The county will discontinue the use of Code Red within the next few weeks.

McGill noted signing up for Hyper-Reach is fast and easy.

To sign up, go to their website at

“It takes less than five minutes to signup,” McGill said. “I encourage everybody to sign up for this.”

For more information or if you are having trouble signing up for Hyper-Reach, contact the Harlan County Emergency Management Office at 606-573-6082.