Residents of South Jacksonville can finally start to sign up for the Code RED weather alert system. The official launch of the emergency alert system was announced during Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting. Code RED system was first approved by the board more than a year ago during the Jennings administration.
Code Red is a free emergency notification service that allows Village residents to receive notifications generated by government and public safety officials.
South Jacksonville Chief of Police Eric Hansel says the system was designed for emergency alerts, however, every department will be able to submit alerts for distribution. Hansel says they do not intend to overload residents with constant alerts. He says there are many services the system can be used to keep the public informed.
“The system can be used for anything from missing children or elderly, weather-related, maybe a bad crash where we have to have traffic redirected, boil orders, special events that might be going on in the community like a parade or something like that.”
Hansel says the system can also select certain areas to target messages to, without overloading all users with information they may not need.
“We can also geographically put out alerts so if there is a boil order for two blocks of a certain street, we pinpoint that area and notify just the residents involved and not the whole community. One of the other things that are handy about Code Red is there are about 108 communities in Illinois that are on the system.
So if you’ve signed up for Code Red and you’re in a different city like Rockford or Winchester because Winchester just got Code Red for example, and they put out a Code Red alert, you would get that alert also. So it’s a pretty handy little system to use.”
Hansel says subscribers would only receive messages from other municipalities when they are in or near that community, so no one signing up in South Jacksonville would receive Winchester alerts when they are not in Winchester.
Subscribers can also opt-in or out of specific alert categories within the system to control what information comes to their device. Hansel says the Code Red system alerts can be received in several ways so even those who do not have a smart device or are not tech-savvy can still receive the alerts.
“It is an app you can get on your phone, but when we looked for a system, we wanted a system that would have multiple forms of notification. So we can do social media, we can do TTY for the hearing impaired, text messages, emails, telephone alerts if you don’t have anything else and you just have a landline at home and you want to get a phone call, it can do that also.”
Signing up is free for residents of the village and can be accomplished either electronically via a link on the village website. Residents can also sign up in person by going to the South Jacksonville Village Hall on Dewey Drive and filling out a form.
To find out more information or to sign up electronically, go to www.southjacksonville-il.gov.