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Insight from WFPD: CodeRED Weather added to public notification system

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The citizens of Cass County have gained another method for receiving notice of threatening weather conditions. Officials of Cass County, Fargo and West Fargo have begun offering the CodeRed Weather Warning as an additional method to alert the community. As a subscriber to the program, you will receive important weather related information sent directly to your telephone.

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The Weather Warning feature is similar to the standard CodeRED notification system in that persons wishing to receive special notification must register by going on-line or by calling in to be included. Cass County residents can call (701) 476-4068 or go on-line to: http://www.casscountynd.gov/county/depts/EM. West Fargo Residents can call 433-5500 or go online to: http://www.westfargopolice.com.

CodeRED Weather Warning is an early telephone warning system designed to automatically deliver targeted weather notifications for the immediate threats of severe thunderstorm warnings, flash flood warnings and tornado warnings within moments of being issued by the National Weather Service (NWS).

CodeRED Weather Warning will deliver a pre-recorded alert message directly to the resident's phones in the projected path of the severe weather. The system automatically sends these notifications without any effort from the local emergency dispatch center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing the residents the needed time to prepare. This becomes even more critical if a tornado comes through the area during the night, when television, radio broadcasts and sirens could be less effective.

CodeRED Weather Warning uses new polygon warning methodologies based on "Storm Based Warnings" direct from the NWS and contacts only those in the affected areas, eliminating many false alarms associated with prior notification methods. CodeRED Weather Warning monitors each NWS bulletin to determine the severity of the warning and the exact area(s) affected, coupled with the predicted heading of the threatening storm. CodeRED Weather Warning then creates a calling database of all subscribers within the projected area of the severe weather. This calling database is then immediately submitted to the CodeRED Weather Warning automated calling system. By eliminating the need for human intervention to activate the warnings, CodeRED has significantly decreased the response time for fast moving storms.

The decision to participate in the CodeRED Weather Warning system was based in part on the public's misunderstanding of the current outdoor warning siren notification system. The outdoor warning siren system is designed to provide an overlapping coverage area by which persons outside their home or business can hear the siren activation. Upon hearing the siren the public is to tune to local news providers to receive further information relating to the threat. The sirens are not meant to notify persons inside buildings.

To receive notice of impending danger, the public is strongly encouraged to subscribe to the CodeRED Weather Warning system or to use other weather warning devices such as a NOAA weather radio. In addition, if you spot threatening weather seek shelter and tune to a local news provider for the latest information. Stay alert and stay alive.

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