The City of Oak Ridge Fire Department would like to remind citizens about the CodeRed Emergency Notification System and its importance during severe weather situations. After a review of past CodeRed notifications, the fire department was able to see that many citizens either did not answer their phone or disconnected the call before the pre-recorded message could begin.
Here’s how CodeRed works: If you have a land-line phone at your home or business through AT&T or Comcast, you will automatically receive a call from CodeRed alerting you of a tornado. If the city has a local emergency, the fire department will send an automated call to affected homes and business in order to provide information about the event. These messages can be a life-saving tool in an emergency.
If you do not have a land-line phone, or if you would like to be notified even when you are not at home, you can sign-up on the CodeRed system using a cell phone. By registering a mobile number to your home or business address, you will receive emergency notifications regardless of your physical location.
“We think this is because the automated call is much like a telemarketer phone call,” Chief Kerley said. “When you answer the phone and say hello, there is a slight delay before the emergency message is announced. We believe when people hear this delay, they automatically think it is a marketing call and they hang up before the message is played.”
CodeRed documents every call that is placed and reports that information to the fire department. The system logs whether the call was answered, how many seconds the citizen listened to the call and whether the message went to voicemail. The system will report a status of “Operator Interrupted” if someone answers the call, but hangs up before the notification is delivered.
“We understand that everyone gets more telemarketing calls than they want and these calls can be very aggravating. However, the CodeRed Emergency Notification System operates just like the automated telemarketing systems where a computer is actually dialing your number and delivering the emergency message,” Chief Kerley explained. “The system can dial more than 10,000 phone numbers in a matter of minutes, which makes it a great way to notify citizens of an emergency, but the citizen has to answer the phone in order to receive the emergency message.”
Here are two things you can do to ensure you receive an emergency notification:
The community is encouraged to sign up for the CodeRed alerts if they have not already done so. The process is simple, just visit the Oak Ridge Fire Department webpage for a link.
For additional information, contact the Oak Ridge Fire Department at (865) 425-3520.