by Angela Hogan, RN MSPH
Administrator, Mo. Co. Health Dept.
As I sit here on this cold day in late March with snow on the ground (again), it is hard to imagine that in four months our current temperature will be tripled to 90 degrees Fahrenheit! What is not so hard to imagine is the storms that will ensue between now and then. That is why I would like for everyone to sign up for CodeRED.
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The CodeRED system is an automated notification system that delivers emergency messages and weather warnings via telephone, cell phone, e-mail, or text. For the past few years, the Moultrie County Board and the city of Sullivan have provided this service for the safety of Moultrie County residents during adverse situations and potentially hazardous weather conditions.
Jan Haegen, Moultrie County’s Emergency Management Agency director, continues to remind us that the CodeRED warning system is only as good as the telephone database from which it operates. According to Haegen, “If your phone number is not in the database, you will not be called. No one should automatically assume his or her phone number is included.”
In order to sign up for general and/or emergency notifications, individuals and businesses need to complete the following steps:
1. Log onto one of the following websites:
2. Click on the link to the “CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment” page.
3. Enter your name, street address, including city, state & zip code, and primary phone number for your residence.
4. Enter the telephone numbers that you would like to have called for your Moultrie County residence (you may enter multiple phones and cell phone numbers for the same residence but only two numbers are allowed per name).
5. Select which types of notices you want (General, Emergency, and/or Severe Weather) and
6. Specify the weather warnings (Tornado, Flood, and Severe Storms) that you prefer.
7. Once your data has been entered, go to the “Map” portion of the site. Be sure that the marker for your residence is actually located where your home (or business, if you are signing up your Moultrie County business) is located.
8. Once you have confirmed that your information, notice selections, and residence location are correct, click on the “Submit” button.
9. If you want a Test Call from CodeRED, you may request it when you are on the site.
10. Log out.
Additionally, it is important to note the following:
• All phone numbers must be associated with a physical street address in order ensure that individuals receive accurate emergency notification calls.
• You must check the box for the weather warnings you want to receive. If you fail to check the box for the notices you want, you will not be called.
• The CodeRED system also works with cell phones, and you may choose to have text messages (with or without calls). However, a street address is required to provide relevant messages.
• If you have changed your phone number or address within the past year or if you have an unlisted number, you should register with your new information.
• CodeRED is a secure information system. The information you enter will be used only for emergency notification purposes and will not be shared outside the CodeRED system.
Those without Internet access may call the Moultrie County ESDA office (from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday–Friday) at 217-728-8841 to supply their information over the phone. The ESDA office will then enter the data into the system at your request. Information required for listing in the CodeRED database is the same as the information listed above.
The CodeRED system has been activated twice in Moultrie County in recent months. One of the notices was initiated to warn residents of severe weather. The other call was placed at the request of the highway department, warning residents of flooded roads, which saved more than one person from having to turn around on their drive to or from work. One of my favorite features of the system is that it works as effectively for individuals living in the country as it does for people living in town.
Moultrie County residents are very fortunate to have this service provided to their home and cell phones. Every time a call goes out, I hear very positive remarks regarding the system and the gratitude of those who have signed up for the service. Here in central Illinois, minutes of warning can literally save lives. Please take a few minutes and sign up to enhance the safety of your loved ones.