Code Red is one of several residential notification methods that the county utilizes during an emergency event. Code Red includes all land line phone numbers which are regularly updated from the 911 dispatch emergency database. These numbers are provided directly from the phone service providers. Currently about 100,000 numbers are registered in Code Red with about 38,000 of them being land lines. In addition, Code Red includes self-subscribing numbers that residents input for their cell phone numbers, emails, and any other phone number they want. Text messages and TTY communications are supported too. A resident can subscribe to receive multiple methods of communication. The system is dependent on local AT&T central office capability to process concurrent calls, as well as to wildfire impacts if communication cables and/or cell towers are damaged. Some of the recent regional wildfire issues with Code Red were how the system was utilized, not particularly limitations of the system, however some limitations did occur as well with congestion, calls not going through, etc. In response to this, the State of California issued best practice guidelines for how these alert systems are used and are requiring local jurisdictions to develop a policy around them; which the County is currently drafting. Additionally, Code Red is a conduit for access to the federal Wireless Alert System which will send a text message to all cell phones within range. Under any likely use scenario, Code Red could fall short of being 100% effective and notifying every resident during an emergency for one of many factors. While a critical system for residents to register with, the County encourages residents to not rely on Code Red as their single source of emergency notification.
The County emergency operations center (EOC) works closely with local radio KNCO and KVMR during all emergency evacuation events, as well as with YubaNet and The Union. Residents are advised to have a battery-operated radio in case of power and telecommunication outages, so they can tune into local radio for current evacuation information as it is announced.
The Sheriff’s Office makes every attempt to go door to door throughout an evacuation area as well as utilizing vehicle PA systems to warn residents as time and resources permit.
Residents can take several steps to insure they get notified during an emergency event. More information on situational awareness, building an emergency communication contact network, and being prepared for evacuations can be found at www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org .