CodeRED Emergency Alerts Popular During Severe Weather Season

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(KPLR) - A geo-targeted automated alert system is growing in popularity.  Code RED is an emergency alert system that provides alerts to residents through phone calls, texts, and emails.

Communities who pay for the service are hoping residents use it, particularly during severe weather season.

“This is a bad time of year for us. We just had a tornado down in Perryville about a month ago, and to have people notified that they can seek shelter, minutes saves lives,” Eureka Police Chief Mike Wiegand said.

Eureka was the first city to subscribe to CodeRED, following complaints from residents who could not hear the St. Louis County emergency sirens in 2008. However, the sirens are intended as a warning system to be heard outdoors.

Eureka’s solution was to use CodeRED.

At no charge, residents can opt on the city’s website. They can select from a list of alerts, including evacuation notices, natural disasters, weather warnings, and road closures.

The system made a big difference when much of the city was under water in late 2015, Wiegand said.

“When we had the flood here in Eureka, we notified 250 people in three minutes.  That one of the roads – Highway 109, by Eureka High School was going to shut down,” he said. “If they needed any medical attention, probably needed to evacuate the subdivision. Or be prepared to stay there for two days.”

The city pays for the service. Belleville, Jefferson County, and Olivette use CodeRed.