By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 22, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 22, 2013) -- Fort Rucker contracted with CodeRED more than three years ago to provide instant emergency notifications via phone, email or text messages.
The service is well used by Fort Rucker workers and residents, as well as those who live and work in the local communities, according to Willie Worsham, plans and operations specialist at the installation operations center.
"CodeRED is a reverse 911 system that informs people of bad weather and is an emergency message system," he said.
"If we had a fuel spill on the installation or an active shooter, we can send out a message warning those who have signed up for the service," he added. "The messages can say to avoid a certain area or road on post or that people should stay indoors due to bad weather."
CodeRED gives officials an additional venue to provide information to the community in an effort to keep it safe. The system gives officials the ability to inform the community in the event there is an emergency on post, where it is and what actions to take. It gives people up-to-the-minute warnings and advisories.
In order to receive these types of notifications, people must register on the Internet, and the process is described as being simple and quick.
"Follow the link on the left-hand side of the Fort Rucker main page and it takes you to the CodeRED website," said Manny Alvarado, DPTMS chief of Plans, Operations and Mobilization Division. "Then they enter the information required and submit. Once they complete the registration, they will immediately start receiving weather notifications as issued by the National Weather Service and the installation operations center."
The system requires registrants to enter their name, phone number, physical address and email address where they want the alerts sent. The service will provide tailored weather watches and warnings based on their geographical location, said Worsham.
"[All the information people provide is] all very secure. The servers are very safe and information will not be given out or abused. It is also very reliable," he said, adding that the program is just another way that officials can reach out and touch "their" people to keep them safe.
"People can put in a home or work phone or email, or both if they want," he continued.
The system taps into the National Weather Service for warnings, and by using the address provided, it can tailor what messages people receive, based on their selection upon registration, according to company officials. This allows community members living in Dothan to hear about Dothan-specific warnings, while someone living on Fort Rucker would receive Rucker-specific watches and warnings.
A new app is also available for people in the area to download to stay informed.
"The app takes into consideration where you are [by using the global positioning satellite] located [in] your cell phone. It will alert you when there is a tornado watch or thunderstorm warning in the area that you are in," said the operations specialist.
To get the app, fill out the CodeRED application and choose the app once the application is complete or search "code red mobile alert" in your mobile device app store.
Alerts issued on security threats or weather alerts specific to the installation will come directly from the Fort Rucker IOC.
"We'll send out the local non-weather emergency notifications to the Fort Rucker community to ensure the information is getting to the community as quickly as possible," Alvarado said. "This approach will ensure our people are in the know quickly and accurately, and give them a chance to prepare for whatever may happen."
Another practical use for the program is to notify parents on school problems or changes.
"If a Fort Rucker school is letting out early due to weather we can put that out so people can leave work with as much time available. We want people to be informed about as much as possible to keep them as safe as possible," said Worsham.
The safety and well-being of the entire Fort Rucker community is a top concern of leadership, and officials hope everyone here will continue to take advantage of the alert system. If people do not like it they can easily remove their registration from the service provider, according to Alvarado.
The service is free to sign up for, but depending on an individual's phone plan, fees may apply.
To sign up for CodeRED, go to the Fort Rucker website at www.rucker.army.mil/codered and follow the link to the company's website.
For more on the program, see the website, or call 255-9777.