Saratoga County cell phone users urged to register for CodeRED program
Saratoga County is urging cell phone users to sign up for its new CodeRED 911 emergency notification system.
The county has had a reverse-911 system in effect since 2007 that lets residents know about serious incidents in their neighborhoods such as storm damage or a hazardous spill. But it’s only for land-line phone users.
The new CodeRED technology enhances the system by including cell phones and voice-over internet phones as well.
“A lot of people are getting rid of land lines and just using cell phones,” said Galway Supervisor Paul Lent, county Public Safety Committee chairman. “It’s important that we contact them, too.”
The system sends notices -- by phone call, text or email -- to residents about any incident in their area that requires police, fire or emergency service response.
Land line owners are automatically included in the reverse-911 program. Cell phone users must register for the enhanced CodeRED system.
This may be done online at public.coderedweb.com.
The enhanced technology was paid for with a grant from the state Office of Homeland Security.
Lent is the former county Office of Emergency Services director.
“This system is only for major things,” he said. “We don’t want people to get messages all the time or they’ll just ignore them. For example, we wouldn’t send out notices saying the Northway is backed up because it always is.”
By getting notices, people can avoid trouble spots and prevent potentially life-threatening injuries.
Or, a person working in Albany may be notified about an incident back home in Saratoga Springs, and take steps to make sure family members are okay.
The system is even valuable to people who live in remote areas without good cell phone coverage, Lent said. For example, a Hadley resident could still be notified about an incident near home while shopping in Glens Falls, he said.
“This is the fastest and easiest way for us to communicate with the public during critical or potentially dangerous times,” he said.
Already, the system has been used during a water main break to let people know they must boil water.
“We can zoom into the street and neighborhood level,” Lent said.
Another time, it was used to notify residents about a missing person in their area.
“We’re encouraging residents throughout the county to register for this program to stay informed when an emergency occurs,” said Carl Zeilman, county Office of Emergency Services director. “CodeRED is an efficient way for emergency services to communicate with the public ways to avoid certain dangerous areas or prepare for significant weather events.”
Charges may apply based on the individual’s cellular carrier and plan.
“While we hope to use this system infrequently, it’s important that when it is used it reaches as many residents as possible,” said Stillwater Supervisor Ed Kinowski, Board of Supervisors chairman. “That’s why we are urging each resident to take the time to register for this important notification service.”