CodeRED to provide emergency communications to public
When armed robbery suspects were on the loose in Potter County on May 15, law enforcement officers from across the region spent the morning involved in a manhunt. In an effort to protect and alert citizens in the area, many Potter County residents in the 765 telephone exchange received a CodeRED call.
The call was coordinated between Potter County Sheriff Curt Hamburger and Gettysburg Police Chief Gayle Kludt as a means to quickly notify the public that the suspects were at large and possibly dangerous.
“This technology is here to be utilized for the safety and protection of the public,” said Chief Kludt. “I am a big believer in using whatever means we can to keep our communities safe.”
The CodeRED service is a high-speed notification system which provides the local E911 center in Mobridge the ability to quickly deliver messages to targeted areas or the entire service area. The technology is provided through the Mobridge North Central Regional E911 Center which contracted with Emergency Communications Networks, LLC to provide the service.
Some examples of how the reverse 911 calling could work to help residents would be in the case of a missing child, or if a person may have wandered away from a care facility such as an Alzheimer’s unit. Calls could be made to land lines in a specific area to alert them and get help from residents to locate a missing person. It was also suggested that it could work for warning about unusual storms.
Another example was in the case of a law enforcement emergency.
For the first time, the technology was used in May. Several people in the 765 telephone exchange were called with a message telling about the suspects involved in the armed robbery in an effort to protect the area and assist in apprehending them.
Brooks Johnson, E911 Coordinator in Mobridge, cautioned that such systems are only as good at the telephone database supporting them. “If your phone number is not in the database, you will not be called,” he said. One of the reason the CodeRED system was selected is it gives individuals and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly into the system’s database, which is an extremely important feature.
“No one should automatically assume his or her phone number is included,” said Johnson, urging all individuals and businesses to log onto the Mobridge Police Department’s website, www.mobridgepolice.org, and follow the link to the “CodeRED Emergency Notification Enrollment” page.
Those without internet access may send their information to Brooks Johnson, NC Regional E911 Center, 110th Ave. East, Mobridge, SD 57601. Required information includes first and last name, a physical street address, city, state, zip code, and primary phone number. Additional phone numbers can be entered as well.
All businesses should register, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the past year, and those who use a cell phone or VoIP phone as their primary number. “CodeRED allows geographically based delivery, which means street addresses are required to ensure emergency notification calls are received by the proper individuals in a given situation. The system works for cell phones too, but we need to have an associated street address to provide relevant messages,” Johnson said.
CodeRED gives those who want to be included an easy and secure method for inputting information. The data collected will only be used for emergency notification purposes. Questions should be directed to Johnson.
Anyone with a smartphone can download a free app called CodeRED Mobile Alert, which taps into the CodeRED national emergency notification system and provides alerts wherever you are.