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Ask Don: alerting residents of scams with CodeRED

We’ve been following the news coverage of the IRS phone scam and wanted your opinion on using the CodeRED system to alert our community about it. We do not want to elicit fear but we worry our residents may fall victim if they aren’t properly informed of what they should do if they receive one of these fake calls. Any suggestions? 

Don Hall, ECN's Director of Government Relations
Don Hall, ECN’s Director of Government Relations

This is a very good use of your CodeRED mass notification system. While it is not a matter of life safety, it is a notification of criminal activity recognized in your area and one that your residents should be warned against and will appreciate the information.

Far too often we hear our clients tell us that they wished that had thought about using the CodeRED system to notify their residents about certain incidents that have happened in the past. To help others, we encourage our clients to send us their best practices and instances in which they used CodeRED that may have been unique and successful so we can share them with everyone else to consider. There have been many great ideas shared this way. Check our website for these testimonials.

Here are a few tips for you to consider for this type of notification to your community:

• Use the most authoritative agency to present the call – In this case a recognized official from the local Law Enforcement agency should record the call, that will provide credibility to the message and add that added level of authority and comfort to the recipients that it is a valid call.
• Be cognizant of the time of day that you launch the call and how many residents you will be calling. (Gauge how long it will take to call the list so you don’t infringe on late night hours)

Make sure you follow the 6-step process to creating an effective message:

1. Identify the caller and agency
2. Provide the date and time of the call
3. Identify the hazard/threat/incident
4. Identify the area affected
5. Provide the action measures to be taken/followed
6. Detail directions to gain information and/or announce a follow-up call will be made.
We would be happy to assist you with the content development of this message if you’d like. Please let us know how else we can help.


ECN opened up the opportunity for you to connect with Don Hall. Hall has spent more than 40 years in public safety so his emergency management experience makes him ideal for helping our current clients, potential customers and the emergency management community to interact with regarding the need and use of mass notification systems for state and local governments.

This platform was created to make your questions for Hall, heard. If you have anything you would like to ask him, please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly, right here in our “Ask Don” blog.