Have you heard from CodeRED lately?

COPAKE—Columbia County’s CodeRED Emergency Notification System was rolled out in 2013.

Residents were either automatically entered into the system or were asked to register.

But in the past six years, people’s land line or cell phone service may have changed, making it necessary to register again to be sure the system has your current telephone or email information.

During the public forum section of the September 12 Copake Town Board meeting, Copake Lake resident Lindsay LeBrecht said she noticed she had not received a CodeRED call in a long time, and when she finally did receive one it was informing her about a phone service outage in Hudson—a message she wasn’t sure why she was getting. She said she thought the system was supposed to relay emergency and weather alerts, but she had not received any.

Town Attorney Ken Dow said he had received a call, which he did not recognize as a CodeRED alert because it began with the words, “Hold on for an important message…” He said he initially hung up on it, thinking it was some telemarketing robo-call. The attorney said the alert system should have a more informative opening line.

The CodeRED Emergency Notification System, free to county residents and businesses, “is a fast communication service allowing Columbia County to notify citizens of an emergency situation. It enables County emergency services to provide mass notification quickly and easily,” according to the CodeRED section on the Columbia County 911 website (http://www.columbiacounty911.com).

This high-speed telephone system allows “Columbia County emergency services to contact participants to provide information about critical situations, what action needs to be taken, and notification that the situation has been resolved.”

County 911 Director Rob Lopez told The Columbia Paper by phone this week that the CodeRED system is definitely operational and was recently used to alert Ghent and Chatham residents about a September 9 water main break and boil water order in their area.

But for the system to work properly, people should make sure their contact information such as land line or cell phone number and email address (if preferred) is updated.

Mr. Lopez noted that there are two different sides to the system—the emergency notification side and the 911 database side. He said that if residents have canceled their land line phone service and switched to a cell phone or if they have switched their land line or cell phone number or provider in the past six years—they should sign-up again.

The CodeRED sign-up screen now lets people choose what method of contact for alerts they prefer. They can sign-up for text messages, emails or still get a call to their cell or land line phone.

Residents will get emergency and general notifications, and now have the option to receive severe weather warnings about tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods.

“CodeRED Weather Warning will automatically alert you if your address falls in the path of severe weather, as determined by the National Weather Service,” the website says.

The CodeRED registration page also allows residents to create a managed account in which they have to enter a user name and a password. Mr. Lopez suggests it might be more convenient not to do that because trying to recover a forgotten password can be a hassle.

Both methods of sign-in allow residents the option to keep their data private and to remove or add phone numbers and email addresses.

Messages delivered via CodeRED to a phone number in the system’s database go to a “call area” marked by identifying street addresses. “Telephone numbers will be matched up electronically to these addresses through the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). A pre-recorded message will be sent out via the telephone with information about the incident and possibly instructions for action to be taken,” says the website.

Other CodeRED points of interest include that the system:

*Will try to reach a phone number three times if there is no answer and or answering device

*Will not begin to play its message automatically if a person does not say “hello.” If no person or machine answers, the system will hang up and retry the number in the next pass of the non-connected numbers.

*Will leave a message on an answering device. If for some reason only part of a message is left, the resident can call 866-419-5000 and receive the entire message.

Register for CodeRED alerts by going to the CodeRED registration page (http://www.columbiacounty911.com/codered.html) and complete the Community Notification Enrollment form. Those who do not have access to the Internet should call the Columbia County 911 Office at 518-828-1263 or the Columbia County Emergency Management Office at 518 828-1212 for assistance.

To contact Diane Valden email

Comments are closed.