California Counties to Test New Emergency Alert System

Sutter and Yuba counties will be launching the first test of the CodeRED emergency alert system Wednesday. The system is designed to automatically notify residents by landline or cellphone in emergency situations.

by Rachel Rosenbaum, Appeal-Democrat / April 9, 2019

(TNS) — Wednesday will mark the first bi-county test of the CodeRED emergency notification system.

Those who are signed up (and listed Yuba County landlines) should receive two text messages (one from Yuba County and one from Sutter County), a phone call and an email, if provided.

The test on Wednesday will give county officials an idea of how many people are signed up, how effective the system is and if there are any glitches. There will be call centers set up on the day of and the day after, where residents can relay any problems they had or if they didn’t receive the notification. It will also give residents a chance to see how the system functions and looks.

The new system is based on geography and sends out mass emergency alerts to those within the area. It will automatically call landlines, but residents need to sign up in order to receive text messages to cell phones and emails for any contact listed under an address. Officials can target those within a specific neighborhood, half a city, or an entire county or region, and it has the capability of sending out maps if necessary. It can also send out alerts within a 25-mile radius, in case residents commute from where they live.

If you have an unlisted Sutter County landline number and want to participate, you will need to register at www.BePreparedSutter.org or www.BePreparedYuba.org before the test. Also, if you have voice over Internet protocol (VOIP), (if your home number is serviced through the Internet) you need to sign up at one of the county websites.

But while officials say signing up is imperative, they also remind residents that it’s just one form of communication utilized during an emergency.

Officials encourage residents to both sign up online as well as download the CodeRED app on their cellphones. Sutter County residents can sign up online at www.BePreparedSutter.org, and Yuba County residents can sign up at www.BePreparedYuba.org.

Here’s what else you can expect from the test on Wednesday:

The system will be used in every community in Sutter and Yuba counties.

This is only a test. Not everyone who signed up will receive the message because technology isn’t magic, county officials say, which is why they ask for feedback following the test.

Both counties will be targeting landlines at homes and businesses in every community from various databases.

If your cellphone is turned off, you will not receive the text until it is powered on. The system will leave a message if someone does not answer the landline; it will recall until someone or an answering machine picks up.

The system is designed to call landlines automatically, based on the quality of databases the county uses to load the system.

The mobile app is tied to geography (you have to be within 25 miles of the boundary of an alert to receive a text. But unless you register your address, you will miss an alert involving your address if you are more than 25 miles away, like at Fort Bragg or Disneyland or Sacramento).

The system can send texts, emails, social media messages, RSS feeds, voice to text messages, and voice to text TTY messages.

CodeRED is also used by Butte and Nevada counties.

Another test will be conducted in about six months.

©2019 the Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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