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Boreal Community Media

Code RED: What is it and how can it benefit you?

Aug 13, 2018 06:53PM ● By Editor

On July 25, 2018, Boreal Staff Lisa Bauer and Shawn Buckroyd met with Cook County’s Director of Emergency Management & Public Information Valerie Marasco and Jail Administrator/Dispatch Supervisor Ben Hallberg to learn more about CodeRED notifications.  

CodeRED is a high-speed mass notification system designed to help keep residents safe and informed in the event of an emergency.  It has been in place for several years, but continues to grow. A recent update in February has greatly increased Cook County’s reach, adding all national call data and can reach all landlines across the County, unless residents are on a do not call list.

Managed CodeRED accounts allow people to access emergency alerts in different ways on different devices, such as Smart Phones and computers in a variety of formats, such as email, text, or calls. Alerts can be sent four ways:

  • Landline calls

  • Cell phone calls

  • Texts

  • Emails

Some situations where CodeRED may be used are:

  • Fires

  • Floods

  • Evacuation notices

  • Missing person alerts

  • Wide-spread outages

Alerts are sent out in only true emergency situations so that people do not become immune to receiving CodeRED notifications.  There may be an occasional test alert, but that is very rare. Messages are created locally and can be customized by Cook County Dispatchers.  

There is also a Mobile App for CodeRED alerts that will alert you in any area that you are in if you have location services enabled on your cell phone.  The app is handy when you are travelling or away from your home area.

If you need assistance signing up for CodeRED alerts, please call Valerie Marasco in the Office of Emergency Management & Public Information at (218) 387-3059 and she will be happy to assist over the phone.  This is a great tool that allows residents to receive alerts in a timely manner.

The last time the Cook County Sheriff’s Office issued a Code RED message in May of 2018 for a 911 outage, over 5000 contacts were reached. By the numbers, Code RED reached:

Phone Count: 5275

Email Count: 576

Text: 471

TDD: 0 (but this option is available to anyone who uses TDD)

“Having a robust emergency notification system is important so we can get people the right information, at the right time to make the right decisions in the event of an emergency or disaster,” said Marasco.

To sign up for Code RED alerts, follow this link:

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