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CodeRED on your phone

Fri, Mar 15th, 2013
Posted in All Features

The CodeRED system is used to send critical communications, from road closure notices to missing child alerts to severe weather conditions.

Some people say there are two seasons in Minnesota: winter and construction.

Yet, others may say the two seasons are snow storms and tornadoes.

While Minnesotans don’t face the challenges of hurricanes and earthquakes like their neighbors on the East and West coasts, they do see a fair share of snowy conditions and twisters.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, Fillmore County has seen a range of 10 to 11 inches of snowfall just in the past seven days. Of course, with a heap of snowfall comes a heap of trouble for travelers.

Fortunately, for weary travelers, Fillmore County has invested in CodeRED, a nationally recognized company utilized in many states throughout the nation and in the state of Minnesota. According to Daryl Jensen, the Fillmore County Sheriff, several counties in Southeast Minnesota utilize CodeRED.

What is CodeRED?

The CodeRED system, implemented in Fillmore County effective October 1, 2012, serves three primary purposes.

Emergency Notification: If there is a missing child, all CodeRED subscribers will be notified via text messaging.

Community Notification: If there is an unexpected road closure, all CodeRED subscribers will be notified via text messaging.

Weather: All storm alerts coming from the National Weather Service out of La Crosse will be shared via text messaging to CodeRED subscribers.

The system costs nothing for subscribers, however, Fillmore County and their taxpayers are paying $13,125 in 2013, with a reoccurring annual cost associated with the CodeRED system.

Currently, Sheriff Jensen said there are between 600 and 700 subscribers utilizing the text messaging system. Taxpayers will be happy to know that the subscription process is closely monitored. Only Fillmore County residents may take advantage of the CodeRED system. As people are subscribing, their address is verified. If they are not located in Fillmore County, they will not be granted access to the system. If this filtering process was not in place, Fillmore County taxpayers would be paying the way for those outside of the county to reap the benefits of the system without making any investment.

And, with more than 50 percent of the population now using smart phones, CodeRED has a mobile application that allows end-users to access information on the fly.

Essentially, the CodeRED system creates greater opportunities for communication among the people of Fillmore County whenever they may a reason for concern. “If you’re living in an area where you don’t hear a siren, then this is a good option,” said Jensen.

With the majority of Fillmore County consumed by rolling hills of farmland, bluffs and valleys, many rural residents don’t hear tornado sirens. But, with the CodeRED system, they will be notified immediately.

As the weather changes from this season we call winter to the season of pothole repair, we will look forward to a change in the weather – transitioning from icy roads and flurries to heavy rain and high winds.

In 2012, there were 936 tornadoes in the United States in 2012 resulting in 70 deaths, compared to 553 deaths in 2011. Of the total, 32 of those tornadoes ravaged farmland, buildings, homes and neighborhoods in Minnesota in 2012. So far, in 2013, there have been 99 tornadoes touching down in 14 states in America.

How To Subscribe

For Fillmore County residents looking forward to subscribing to the CodeRED service, they can visit http://www.ecnetwork.com/. Click on the icon recognizable with the CodeRED icon, and the web-based program will walk users through all steps involved in signing up for the service.

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