By Carin Kirkegaard
Life can change at a moment’s notice, as residents impacted by the recent Chatridge 2 Fire discovered when local emergency response teams knocked on doors and gave the order that they had 10 minutes to evacuate their homes.
CodeRED is a high-speed telephone emergency notification system that allows public safety personnel to send messages directly to residents – whether they are home or away – during an emergency. It uses geotracking to target specific areas with prerecorded phone messages, emails or texts.
Registering for CodeRED alerts from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) and all other Douglas County agencies allows mass notifications to areas where emergencies are occurring.
According to the DCSO, a notification that detailed fire information as well as the evacuation notice went out to more than 700 of the 964 homes that were threatened by the fire. “This means that quite a few people didn’t know that the fire was close to homes and that we were requesting them to evacuate,” stated DCSO Public Information Officer Cocha Heyden. “Even though fire teams did a phenomenal job stamping out the fire, it could have easily gotten away from them and into the neighborhoods,” she stated.
The CodeRED system not only notifies citizens of evacuations for wildfires, it also notifies when there is police activity in an area, bioterrorism alerts, missing child reports and other emergencies. Essentially anytime there is an urgent public safety message officials will send a message to alert citizens of emergency details, instructions or precautions that will aid in citizens making well-informed decisions to remain safe.
Residents and businesses are encouraged to sign up to receive CodeRED notifications. Visit www.douglascountycodered.com and follow the online instructions, or text DRCC to 99411 to receive a direct link to the enrollment form on a mobile device. Users will create a managed account that allows access to modify notification settings and contact information, as well as to customize the types of notifications received and to add additional addresses to monitor.