CodeRED delivers during heat wave

Yet another deadly heat wave has broiled more than 150 million Americans in 30 states. This latest onslaught of high temperatures has killed at least 24 people. It became so hot in places like New Jersey that a bear came out of the woods to take a dip in a backyard swimming pool. In our previous post, As Temperatures Rise, New Uses Emerge for Notification System, we detailed several ways that outbound notification can be used while trying to beat the heat. Below you’ll find examples of how emergency notification was used to keep citizens informed during another unusual round of oppressive heat.

As the heat index soared across the country, so did the demand for power. In Butler County, IA 1100 citizens were without power for a total of four hours. Butler County Emergency Management Director, Mitch Nordmeyer, knew that is was extremely important to reach his community with life saving information. “At 6pm we had a heat index of 114 degrees and hundreds of citizens wondering why they were without power. CodeRED helped us communicate easily and quickly with everyone in 15 to 30 seconds,” said Nordmeyer. “Almost immediately we heard back from people who received the CodeRED message. They thanked us for keeping them informed. One citizen told us that the information we shared in CodeRED messages helped them to stop worrying during the outage,” Nordmeyer continued. Click on the link below to hear one of Butler County’s CodeRED messages.

The historic heat in Johnson Country, IA and the unique use of outbound notification by their Emergency Management Agency captured the attention of the Associated Press. Steve Spenler, Director of Johnson Country Ambulance Service realized the value of emergency notification. “I thought it was great that the EMA used CodeRED. Quickly reaching a large number of people with the same, consistent safety message is invaluable. We haven’t seen a heat emergency like this in five years,” Spenler said.

You can listen to Johnson County EMA’s CodeRED message at link below. In addition to safety tips, the message stressed checking on anyone who may be struggling during high temperatures. Johnson County EMA Planning Officer B.J. Dvorak emphasized the importance of using CodeRED mass notification system. “The calls helped residents to take the heat emergency seriously. It also reminded them about the importance of helping others on their street or neighborhood,” said Dvorak.

People in the State of Illinois remember the deadly results of hot weather. After a 1995 heat wave that killed more than 700 people, the Chicago area created a heat response plan that includes more cooling centers and well-being checks to make sure those with special needs are okay during a heat emergency. The Village of McCook, IL is a small community some 22 minutes from Chicago. As they have in previous heat emergencies, they used CodeRED to alert citizens about the availability of cooling centers. When Sergeant Mark Elslager was asked why they used CodeRED he said, “Quite honestly, we need to do everything possible to keep our citizens informed. CodeRED helps us to respond to the needs of our community during an emergency.”