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Code Red - get the app

Code Red approved by Virden and RMs of Wallace-Woodworth and Sifton
08 - Code Red
Scott Simpson, WEG coordinator in his office on July 29. He can post a Code Red warning from his office, or using his smart phone if he is not in his ofifce.

Code Red goes live in the area early in August. “This is going to be the tornado siren for the 21st century,” states Scott Simpson, Westman Emergency Group (WEG) coordinator.

The warning system for extreme weather or other critical incidents has been approved and the Town of Virden, RMs of Wallace-Woodworth and Sifton have voted to subscribe to the service.

Some years ago, as lately as 2013, a tornado siren, similar to the fire siren (but different), was considered as a warning for the town. However it was predicted to cost $65,000 plus a yearly fee. Comparably, Code Red appears to be far superior, both in efficiently reaching everyone in the area, and overall cost which is just $6836, shared between two rural municipalities and the Town of Virden on a per capita basis.

“Code Red is a subscriber based emergency alert notification system,” explains Simpson. “It’s something that communities can opt into. Code Red is provided by Emergency Communications Network, out of Florida. This is a lot cheaper than a tornado sire.”

As WEG coordinator, Simpson is the administrator of the Code Red program for Virden, Wallace-Woodworth and Sifton. He can map a disaster area and send out a Code Red warning with just a few clicks on his computer. This does not depend upon him being in the office. Through his smart phone Simpson can access the program and send out an alert.

Code Red will be used along with Alert Ready, which is already in operation.

There is an app for mobile phones and tablets and even though you may live and work within an area subscribing to Code Red, each citizen ought to sign up as well. There’s no cost when doing so.

Even if you come from an area outside the municipal coverage, employees working in Virden can sign up.

However, anyone, anywhere, with the Smartphone app can dial into Code Red and see if there is an event. For example, travelers seeing bad weather ahead can check Code Red to see if there’s an alert for a tornado.

A quick look on Simpson’s computer showed there were over a dozen Code Red alerts in North America on July 29 at 3:15 p.m.

Code Red warnings will come automatically to those without computers or mobile phones, through regular land lines and will interrupt regular radio and television broadcasts.

Formal information will be provided to residents of Virden, Wallace- Woodworth and Sifton as well.

“We are planning public information...we are going to have a table and a display at Wild West Daze [downtown event],” said Simpson.

Municipal websites will carry the information as well.

For those in apartments or seniors’ residences, he says, “We’re going to try and talk to the managers of the buildings, if they want to talk to their residents. If someone wants to tell their employees, they can do that.”

He encourages everyone to sign up for it.

Although municipalities have posting privileges, Simpson expects the Code Red signals to be reserved for true, serious emergencies.

“We only want to use it if it’s a major disaster.”

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