The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Culpeper offers alert notification
BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
Culpeper County residents who wish to be alerted to disasters, either natural or manmade, or receive other important emergency information are urged to sign up for the CodeRED reverse-call program.
“We urge everyone to sign up so that in times of emergency or natural disaster we can inform citizens about those incidents,” said interim Culpeper County Public Safety Communications Director Jenny Rosenfeld.
CodeRED, which became available in Culpeper County in November 2008, was used 20 times last year, especially during the August earthquake.
“Land lines published in directories—public records —are already in the database, but unpublished numbers, cellphones and email addresses are not,” said town public information officer Wally Bunker. “CodeRED allows the communications center to send messages by voice, text or email, but citizens need to sign up to receive text and email messages or calls on cellphones or to unpublished numbers.”
Culpeper’s CodeRED has been used for everything from a town boil-water alert to missing persons’ cases to earthquake and weather incidents.
The geographically based program allows E–911 workers to select specific areas on a map where residents may need emergency information. During the August 2011 earthquake, every Culpeper contact in the system was used.
“We sent out a call saying it was an earthquake after we received confirmation of the earthquake from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management because we were getting so many 911 calls,” said Rosenfeld.
Some residents didn’t get the word, however, because they were not home and their cellphone numbers were not registered in the CodeRED database.
“That is why we urge people to register their cellphone numbers,” said Rosenfeld. “Cellphones provide instant access to important emergency information.”
You may register for CodeRED on the Culpeper County website. http://web.culpepercounty.gov, or by calling the communications center at 540/727-7900 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.