City of Duluth Implementing New Emergency Alert System

Posted at: 11/07/2013 6:38 PM | Updated at: 11/07/2013 6:51 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

New technology being implemented in the City of Duluth is designed to keep you and your family safe in potentially dangerous situations.

CodeRed is a way to get information from the city to you within seconds. "It's really limitless what we could end up sending notifications for," said Fire Chief John Strongitharm with the Duluth Fire Department.

When using CodeRed Strongitharm said "we can notify people within a few seconds that there is an event going on and they'll be able to take action to protect themselves."

Pointing to the flooding in 2012, Strongitharm said it's the main reason he wanted to try the system in Duluth. "It would have been wonderful to have a tool to call every home out in Fond du Lac and tell them daily what was happening with flood recovery."

While it is for more than weather alerts, Strongitharm suspected they will be a big draw. When you register on the system website you can choose general and emergency notifications too.

So how does it work?

Say a water main breaks or a gas line leak in your neighborhood, for example. Under the CodeRed system, as long as you have signed up for the alerts and the situation impacts you, you will be notified.

Strongitharm said you can get the alert via email, text message or phone call. "Getting information in the hands of the public is the key here," he said.

How you get the information is completely up to you. If you don't want a call, text or email, there is also a smartphone application.

According to Strongitharm "about half the counties in Minnesota are on this now." He said cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul are also participating.

For about $12,500, Strongitharm said Duluth is testing it for six months. Whether it stays or goes depends on whether you sign up, he said.

The system does have your home phone number. So Strongitharm said you can expect a test call in the coming weeks before the system goes live.

Don't assume you'll get alerts if you don't sign up, he said.

Click here to register for emergency alerts

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