Some counties implement phone call system for emergencies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some counties implement phone call system for emergencies

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - People in Black Hawk County can sign up for a service that calls them if there's a weather warning.

Called "Code Red", the phone system can also call residents of a certain neighborhood if there's an emergency situation like a hazardous materials spill or an evacuation.

"In the event of an emergency, we can designate that area and it will make phone calls up to 60,000 in a minute and we'll give a specific message to those," said Black Hawk County Supervisor Frank Magsamen.

Magsamen says everyone with a listed number will be included.

It would be used if there are evacuations or severe weather warnings.

"When you say code red, the intent of that is that it's an emergency or extreme situation, it's not the daily event that we have," said Magsamen.

In Bremer County, emergency officials looked at code red but decided it was too expensive. Then, the price dropped and after the floods of 2008, the county thought it would be worth $10,000 investment to give more specific warnings to area residents.

The system's been in place in Bremer County since last fall.

It's only been used in monthly tests but officials say it seems to be working well.

"During the floods of 2008, we had the police department and the fire department go out to 1000 homes door-to-door with notifications. Now, what we're able to do is make notifications since what's neat is it'll generate a report to let us know which houses didn't receive notification," said Waverly Police Chief Richard Pursell.

In Black Hawk County, people who want to receive notifications of weather warnings or want calls made to their cell phone have to sign up for the service.

You can find a link to sign up, here.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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