Authorities attribute CodeRED Mobile Alert app in locating missing man at county fair
Town of Hamburg Emergency Management officials in New York say their use of the CodeRED Mobile Alert app, helped them safely recover a man who went missing during the Erie County Fair on August 14, 2013. According to officials, family members of the special needs man contacted security and the lieutenant on the fairgrounds property felt it would be a good opportunity to launch to the Town’s emergency notification system, CodeRED.
Through telephone calls, approximately 200 event staff were immediately notified of the missing man’s description. The Town also deployed a geographically targeted alert to guests specifically located on the fairgrounds property through advanced GPS targeting of the CodeRED Mobile Alert app.
“Within five minutes, we got a 911 call from a woman who had located the missing man and had received the alert on her [CodeRED] mobile app,” said Sean Crotty, Town of Hamburg, Deputy Emergency Manager. The woman was not a Hamburg resident and therefore would not have been a part of the Town’s emergency calling database. “She had the app because she heard it being promoted and when she arrived at the fairgrounds, she downloaded the app on the iTunes store,” he said.
Prior to the availability of the app, officials relied on 2-way radios, security and gate attendants to locate missing persons at the fairgrounds. “On average we have 70,000 to 80,000 people on the fairgrounds. To engage and to zero in on a targeted group allows us to empower the average citizen to step their boots in the ground and their eyes and ears to lookout for this guy to make sure it does have a positive and happy ending. It empowers the public,” Crotty said.
The Town of Hamburg became a CodeRED client in 2013 and their first use of the CodeRED Mobile Alert app was the recovery of the missing man. The Erie County Fair is attended by approximately 1 million people each year.
CodeRED calls successfully locate missing woman
Polk County Emergency Management officials in Iowa attribute the August 8, 2013 recovery of a missing woman with dementia to the utilization of CodeRED, the agency’s high-speed emergency notification service, that has been in place since 2009.
Once alerted of the missing woman, Iowa’s Ankeny Police Department requested the use of the county’s CodeRED system to aid in the search. Jon Davis, Deputy Director at Polk County Emergency Management, selected a 2-mile calling radius to reach approximately 10,000 residents via telephone calls, text messages and emails. Davis launched the notification from his home, then headed to the police department command post. On his drive in, he saw citizens who had received the call begin to turn on their porch lights and go outside to help look for the missing woman.
“By the time I got there, [police] were already getting phone calls from citizens. They had no idea where she went, so they deployed officers in every direction around the point she was last seen and started searching. Using the CodeRED notification allowed them to obviously redirect all of their resources to the area the woman was last seen,” Davis said.
Polk County Emergency Management has proactively and successfully utilized CodeRED to help locate four missing persons in 2013 alone. They say using the system for the recent recovery was a major success.