CodeRED serves as a valuable resource during evacuation, brush fire, and missing persons incidents
On June 8, 2016, a human-caused brush fire in Yarnell, Arizona began around 3:15pm as two acres and exploded into burning 600 acres due to 20mph winds. Termed the “Tenderfoot Fire,” the fire burned through three structures by Wednesday night. The Arizona Department of Transportation closed down Highway 89 through the night. The fire was deemed dangerous after it had knocked out power to 1,050 customers and because it threatened communications equipment used by the sheriff’s deputies.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office used the CodeRED system to alert the entire town of Yarnell and Peeples Valley to evacuate for precautionary measures. Residents were directed to head to the Yavapai College campus in Prescott, Arizona. Residents were finally able to return home on June 13, 2016. This situation was especially alarming because of the June 2013 fire that occurred in Yarnell, destroying more than 100 homes and killing 19 Prescott Hot Shot firefighters who were unable to escape a fire storm while attempting to protect the town. Following the June 2016 fire, Sheriff’s personnel heard from many of the town’s residents who expressed great appreciation for the important notifications from CodeRED.
Along with using CodeRED for community safety, we’ve also used CodeRED in other emergency situations for individual safety. On June 19, 2016, an 86-year-old woman with dementia was reported missing around 6pm. The Prescott Police Department used the Yavapai County Sheriff’s CodeRED system to alert residents of the missing woman along with her physical description. The system made over 1,600 calls with a 77% contact rate. Our Yavapai County Search and Rescue K-9 team was able to locate the missing woman around 9:45pm that evening near Willow Lake. Knowing that we had all those eyes and ears aware of this missing person in our target search area was very comforting to personnel on the ground.
The CodeRED system is a critical resource for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, year round. In addition to the incidents mentioned, we have just recently experienced additional wild fires and missing person incidents. The CodeRED system was a critical factor in providing community members with the latest invaluable information. We even assisted a local police agency with evacuation alerts via CodeRED regarding a fire bearing down on homes. Fortunately, the progress of the fire was stopped before any major damage was done.
Using CodeRED lead to the successful discovery of a criminal suspect after a high-speed pursuit
On June 20th 2016, the Barron County Sheriff’s Department activated CodeRED following a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect crashing and running into a wooded neighborhood. After receiving the CodeRED message, a local resident advised 911 the suspect was walking through their yard. This tip directly lead to the suspect being taken into custody without further incident.
CodeRED credited in finding visually impaired women suffering from previous traumatic head injuries
We had a ‘missing person’ on Sunday night, May 22, 2016. E911 Dispatchers promptly utilized the CodeRED reverse 911 system. A woman who received the CodeRED notification then looked outside of her house and saw the missing woman. Officers responded and were able to locate this individual. The missing woman was visually impaired and suffered from previous traumatic head injuries, so finding her was crucial. The CodeRED system proved itself to be a success in this effort.
Township uses CodeRED during five day long industrial fire
We first began using CodeRED in 2008 and within those first six months, our town suffered from a large industrial fire that lasted five days. CodeRED gave us the ability to quickly and easily communicate to residents and travelers throughout the area, informing them of local conditions and what roads and areas to avoid. Throughout this incident, we used CodeRED in many different ways. Alerts were issued to residents to be aware and cautious of tanker firetrucks and other emergency vehicles as they traversed local routes to deliver water and supplies to help fight the fire. Additionally, CodeRED alerts were instrumental in helping us evacuate hotels, relocate residents, and deliver general updates letting residents know when it was in fact safe to return to the area. And when we experienced EPA issues with contaminated water runoff, we used CodeRED to notify those affected of the impact to their properties and of important safety measures that had been put in place.
While we were thankful that the service was in place throughout such a dangerous period, we have found many great additional uses for the service and continue to use it on a regular basis. For instance, our police department issued an alert when a senior citizen wandered off in the middle of the night. Using the system’s enhanced mapping features, we were able to alert residents in town of the lost senior citizen and to be not be alarmed as local law enforcement officials would be searching in wooded and rural areas. In yet another instance, when a suspect ran from police, we issued an alert to inform residents in a specific neighborhood not to answer their door if they didn’t know the individual. Most recently however, our Police Chief issued alerts via CodeRED’s mapping feature, to targeted neighborhoods proactively alerting residents of a spree of vehicle break-ins occurring in the area. This was a great chance to also remind our citizens to lock their doors and remove valuables from their vehicles to help serve as a future deterrent.
In all of these incidents, the ECN Launcher app was used via an iPhone to send out notifications instantaneously. With this app, we were able to map out affected areas, record our message, and send alerts within minutes. Notifications with this app are easy to construct, requiring few steps to complete. It’s so easy and efficient to use that our Chief of Police sees how it can be used on a regular basis to proactively communicate better with our citizens.
CodeRED helps with runaway juvenile and much more
Our very first emergency callout was for a juvenile who had run away from a youth home. The dispatch (one of only two working at the time) was able to quickly draw a radius around the area and launch a call to notify the residents nearby. The dispatcher later commented how easy it was to get that call out with just a few clicks in the new system and noted that it would have been impossible with the old system because of the time it would have taken to dial the calls and the workload involved. Our county always uses the IPAWS integration to CodeRED which allows us to put out alerts on the Emergency Alert System. This was used to notify people in our county when the 911 system was taken offline by a severed fiber optic cable. We were able to get a message out almost immediately to TV, radio, and cellphones in the area explaining how to reach emergency services. We’re in our second year using CodeRED and have used it on numerous occasions for anything from missing persons to a notice to run water to keep pipes from freezing (it got COLD last winter!). We’ve launched calls from our dispatch center, my desk at work, and I have even launched a call from my cell phone. It’s nice that you don’t have to wrestle a cumbersome interface when you’re in a stressful situation. The system is intuitive and easy to use. I also know that the ECN folks will have my back 24/7 and they’re only a phone call away.
County uses ECN Launcher to send CodeRED notification during winter storm
Presque Isle County, Michigan experienced several inches of snow and whiteout conditions on February 29, 2016 causing horrible traffic and dangerous driving conditions. The County’s Office of Emergency Management wanted some way to reach the public and request they stay off the roads and remain safe during this winter weather.
At the direction of the Sheriff, a notification was sent using the ECN Launcher app to notify the public that they needed to stay off the roads until further notice and to dial 911 for any emergencies. Over the course of three hours, the weather became slightly better and people were beginning to call in inquiring about picking their children up from school while being advised to stay off the roads.
The office then sent out another notification informing the public that the roads had been re-opened, but to drive with extreme caution. The following day, the Sheriff’s Office received several phone calls from residents thanking them for alerting them to the winter weather dangers in the area and inquiring further about CodeRED notifications.
“Prior to signing on with the CodeRED system, I did exhaustive work to review other alert systems. By far, CodeRED has proven on multiple occasions to be exceptional. From the sales staff to the team that was assigned to us for training and support, we could not be more pleased. I would highly recommend the CodeRED system to any agency that values the safety and security of its citizens.”
Missing 12-year-old boy found in the woods after CodeRED notification
In the early afternoon of March 2, 2016, a frantic father in Carver, Massachusetts called the Carver Police Department to report that his 12-year-old son was missing. When the call was received, the young boy had already been missing for two hours.
Carver Police Department responded immediately, checking the boy’s friend’s homes and preparing for a search in the wooded area behind his home. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department asked if the Carver Police Department wanted to send message to residents alerting them of the missing boy. When they agreed, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department then launched a CodeRED alert at 3:30pm on behalf of Carver Police Department to residents in the area asking them to assist in searching for the young boy.
Personnel from the Carver Police Department, Carver Fire Department, Carver public safety dispatchers, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Massachusetts Environmental Police, canine teams, Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) deputies, the state police, and the SEMLEC Search and Rescue team all responded to help in the search.
A woman who received the CodeRED alert relayed the information to her husband around 4:00pm, who then took his ATV into the woods to search. Miraculously, he found the child about half a mile away from his home in the woods and the boy was happily reunited with his father.
Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald, Jr. has been providing CodeRED to Plymouth and Bristol Counties for the past six years. “I am very pleased with this vital service. Time and time again we see the positive impact the calls make communicating important messages that keep our communities safe.”
Flagler sheriff credits CodeRED system with finding missing juvenile
Flagler Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on Wellington Drive on March 31, 2015 in reference to a missing juvenile. The parents of the 16-year-old informed law enforcement their son ran away from home after being disciplined.
The child, diagnosed as bipolar and has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old took off without a cellular phone, money or even socks and shoes. Deputies quickly began searching for the juvenile and a K-9 was deployed in an attempt to locate him. Fire Flight was summoned to check the surrounding areas.
At approximately 7:20 p.m., a CodeRED was issued for the “W” and “R” sections of Palm Coast notifying residents in the area where the child lived and gave details about the missing boy. Residents were asked to call law enforcement if they had information about his whereabouts. Within moments of issuing the CodeRED, concerned citizens began calling in with tips about where the boy was seen.
“Without this system and without the caring citizens who took the time to call, it could have taken hours to locate the boy. We are thankful to everyone who assisted us and for the safe return of the child,” said Sheriff James L. Manfre.
In 30 minutes the system made 12,720 calls, sent 1,036 text messages, and 1,458 emails. Of the 12,720 calls, CodeRED reached 8,973 individuals with the message of the missing child.
“Once again, CodeRED has proven its ability to save lives. After the call was launched, it only took 14 minutes for a concerned citizen who received the notification to contact the Sheriff’s Office and alert them to the child’s whereabouts. I cannot stress how important this tool is and ask that all Flagler County residents sign up for this free service if they’ve not done so already,” said Kevin Guthrie, Public Safety Emergency Manager.
Missing elderly man found in 15 minutes using CodeRED system
Officials with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department and Taunton Police Department in Massachusetts attribute their ability to quickly locate a missing elderly man on October 16, 2014 with their use of the CodeRED emergency notification system. According to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, the Taunton Police Department called in to report a missing 76-year-old man suffering from dementia who went missing. They requested use of the CodeRED system to help locate the man who was last seen headed toward the city.
Plymouth County mapped a specific geographic area to reach approximately 33,000 residents within a 5-mile radius of where the man was last seen. Using an integrated message approach, residents in the area received telephone calls to their landlines and cell phones, emails and push notifications through the CodeRED Mobile Alert app. Plymouth County’s advanced mobile strategy through CodeRED allowed them to reach more than 130 residents through the CodeRED Mobile Alert app based on the GPS of their smartphones. The app allows Plymouth and Bristol counties to reach residents and visitors on their smartphone and tablet devices within a specific geographic area based on the person’s current location.
Within 15 minutes of the messages being delivered, a person who had received the CodeRED call said a person matching the missing elderly man’s description wandered to his doorstep. He contacted Taunton Police, who immediately responded and reunited the man safely with his family.
CodeRED system leads to apprehension of alleged felon
The CodeRED system was credited for the arrest of a Luray, VA suspect in January 2013 who was believed to be linked to more than 30 felonies. In early December 2012, a resident called the Luray Police Department to report suspicious activity near a neighbor’s car. This lead came shortly after more than 1,200 time-sensitive CodeRED messages were delivered to residents via phone, email, text and the CodeRED Mobile Alert app. The message asked residents to remain vigilant of an alleged suspect assumed to be accountable for several auto thefts.
“It took basically minutes to reach a thousand residents. Had we needed to go door to door to do that, it would have exhausted a lot of man hours,” Luray Assistant Police Chief, Wayne Petefish said.
Police apprehended the alleged robber moments after receiving information from a citizen about the suspect’s location. “Within a week, we received information from our citizens that led to the arrest of a person who is going to be charged with over 30 felonies that are now able to be closed by arrest because of the CodeRED system,” Petefish said.
CodeRED Mobile Alert app helps locate missing man at county fair
Town of Hamburg Emergency Management officials in New York say their use of the CodeRED Mobile Alert app helped them safely recover a man who went missing during the Erie County Fair on August 14, 2013. According to officials, family members of the special needs man contacted security and the lieutenant on the fairgrounds property felt it would be a good opportunity to launch to the Town’s emergency notification system, CodeRED.
Through telephone calls, approximately 200 event staff were immediately notified of the missing man’s description. The Town also deployed a geographically targeted alert to guests specifically located on the fairgrounds property through advanced GPS targeting of the CodeRED Mobile Alert app.
“Within five minutes, we got a 911 call from a woman who had located the missing man and had received the alert on her [CodeRED] mobile app,” said Sean Crotty, Town of Hamburg, Deputy Emergency Manager. The woman was not a Hamburg resident and therefore would not have been a part of the Town’s emergency calling database. “She had the app because she heard it being promoted and when she arrived at the fairgrounds, she downloaded the app on the iTunes store,” he said.
ECN’s client support team played key role during Superstorm Sandy
During the height of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, our team helped hundreds of emergency managers. One of those was Randy Ashmore, Emergency Management Director in Woodbury, CT. He wrote ECN to extend his appreciation for our Client Support team that proactively contacted him prior to the storm. “The way you checked to see if we were doing OK and how the storm was impacting us means a lot. Thank you,” he wrote.
ECN’s Client Support team closely monitored the system and impending storm and made preemptive calls to hundreds of clients who would be affected by the storm. During the storm, ECN’s Client Support team provided live, around-the-clock support assisting clients in launching millions of phone calls, text messages, emails, social media messages and CodeRED Mobile Alert app notifications.
All notifications were sent by ECN’s emergency management clients tasked with communicating the most critical storm messages that included evacuation orders, street closures, power outages and shelter locations.
CodeRED system attributed to saving Texas couple’s lives
A Texas couple attributes the CodeRED Weather Warning system for helping save their lives after they received a severe thunderstorm warning notification alerting them not only to the impending storm, but also that their home was on fire. According to the Denton Fire Department in Texas, a series of severe weather moved through the area July 30, 2014 and into the early morning hours of July 31.
Fire investigators detected 99 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes within 1-mile of the couple’s Denton home. Smoke alarms inside the home did not engage because the fire started in the roof, not yet making its way down to the area to initiate the detector’s warning. After receiving the second CodeRED Weather Warning call, the couple realized smoke was pouring through their air conditioning vents.
The couple said the call gave them the precious extra time to secure themselves and their pets to safely escape from their burning home. “We are safe and sound because of CodeRED; we’re so grateful. We’ve always been thankful the City of Denton provides this system and even more so now that it saved our lives. It’s an amazing service. Early warning is invaluable,” said homeowner Lisa Allen.
CodeRED technology helps track missing Indiana runaways in minutes
The Daviess County Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Management in Indiana located two missing teenage runaways in less than two minutes on April 2, 2014 through the use of their CodeRED emergency notification system’s advanced geo-targeting technology.
According to Paul Goss, Daviess County Director of Emergency Management, a 14-year-old girl didn’t go home on the school bus and was seen in the vicinity with a juvenile male. The County’s 911 dispatch center requested a CodeRED notification be launched to seek the public’s help in locating the missing teens.
After “pinging” the girl’s cell phone to determine her last known location, the decision was made to use the CodeRED system’s geographic targeting interface and strategically notify residents within a 3-mile radius of the projected area of where the runaways were thought to be located.
According to Goss, 1 minute and 52 seconds had passed since the calls were delivered to the intended area before they got a promising lead. A man who had received the CodeRED notification reached Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit, directly on his cell phone, with information that he had seen the teens and provided their location.
Within 20 minutes, the runaways were reunited with their families. “It’s a great example of how the system can be used. This probably saved a lot of heartache for the families,” Sheriff Harbstreit said.
“We like to think we can go off of TV and radio to notify people, but this is more personal and pinpointed. Using CodeRED gave our community situational awareness they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Goss said.
Daviess County Board of Commissioners has been using the CodeRED system for nearly 3 years. They also use CodeRED Weather Warning technology to automatically alert residents and businesses of severe weather including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods through telephone calls, text messages and emails.
Boston agencies relied on ECN for post-blast crisis communications following bombing
Less than thirty minutes after two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April 2013, multiple agencies within the Boston area utilized ECN’s massive dialing infrastructure to quickly send critical communications to both runners and the public.
In the first 24 hours following the incident, more than 228,000 calls, tens of thousands of texts and emails, in addition to 700 CodeRED Mobile Alert app notifications kept residents informed of critical public safety messages specific to their areas.
For one ECN client who utilizes the CodeRED high-speed notification system, part of the marathon path took runners directly through his town of Newton, Mass. “The Boston Marathon goes through Newton, and it was enormously helpful to be able to utilize the CodeRED system in specific geographic areas on marathon day,” said Lt. Bruce Apotheker, spokesman for the Newton Police Department. “In addition, when the state advised a lockdown of Newton and neighboring communities on Friday, April 19th, the system was very useful in helping us to keep our residents informed throughout the day.”
Brookline Police Department in Massachusetts also relied on ECN’s proprietary technology to deliver nearly 30,000 telephone calls specifically related to the Boston Marathon explosion. Their EMT Division initiated calls before 3:15 p.m., less than a half hour after the bombs exploded near the finish line.
The following day, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used the CodeRED system to notify students, faculty and staff of a suspicious package on campus. More than 20,000 calls were launched in 11 minutes and 18,000 text messages were sent in three minutes, allowing MIT to proactively communicate with their campus community during a time of heightened awareness and vigilance. MIT used the system to send a follow-up “all clear” message 15 minutes later, and the campus was again notified in just over 10 minutes.
The system saw critical client use Thursday and Friday that week as MIT launched a succession of thousands of text messages almost every hour to students, faculty and staff related to an active shooter on campus, suspicious package reported, class cancellations and to stay home and indoors. Messages were received in less than three minutes of initial launch.
CodeRED clients across Massachusetts including Lexington, Cambridge, Newton, Arlington and Plymouth proactively used the system to engage SWAT teams and deployments, “shelter in place” warnings to the community, among city transportation and office closure messages. Before noon on Friday, clients used the ECN infrastructure to deliver nearly 2 million calls, hundreds of thousands of text and email notifications, as well as thousands of notifications through the CodeRED Mobile Alert for location-specific smartphone alerts.
Because the ECN system is monitored 24/7 by live, in-house technical and client support teams, calls were initiated seamlessly, amid reported network congestion at critical times Monday, overnight Thursday and through Friday.