Potter County residents can get real-time notifications of emergencies through the county’s free CodeRED system.
“In light of what happened this week 20 years ago, we hope children in school will never have to experience what we did then,” said Glenn Dunn, county emergency management coordinator, at the Potter County Commissioners’ meeting Thursday, Sept. 9.
Dunn said he’s promoting the service as part of National Preparedness Month in September, but also due to the recent 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. He said on Sept. 11, 2001, many people, especially those in or around New York City, struggled to get important information.
“People weren’t notified about what to do, how to go, where to go,” said Dunn. “Since then, Homeland Security had spent a lot of money to promote such activities as this.”
Dunn said CodeRED, free to Potter County residents, sends updates to every registered user in the event of a county-wide emergency, similar to getting weather updates on a cell phone. Alerts can also be sent via automated phone calls, text messages, on social media accounts or through the Cod Red mobile app.
According to documents Dunn provided, such alerts could be used for missing people or children, evacuation notices, natural disasters, boil water advisories, inclement weather warning, criminal activities, road closures/traffic alerts or shelter in place/lockdowns.
Residents can sign up for the alerts from any phone or computer by creating a new account or logging in with an existing Google, Facebook or Twitter account. To access, visit https://pottercountypa.net and scroll down to the Code Red logo.
The system asks for a name, phone number and physical address. Emergency alerts will automatically be sent, but users can also opt in for general alerts and weather-related alerts such as for flash floods, tornados, winter storms and severe thunderstorms. According to the CodeRED system, all user information remains private and is only user for alerts.
Once signed up, calls or text messages will be sent from 866-419-5000 or “emergency alert” for emergency notifications and 855-969-4636 or “community alert” for general notifications.
“There are a lot of different systems available, but we chose one that is user friendly,” said Dunn. “It helps provide for the safety of our residents.”