CodeRED Emergency Notification App: How does it work?

In the mobile world we live in, the CodeRED emergency notification app, provides a solution to the growing question asked by public safety officials nationwide: How can our messages reach residents who are constantly on-the-go and travelers who are just passing through town?

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

The CodeRED Mobile Alert app is instrumental in expanding the reach of officials to both of these types of residents with its geo-targeting technology by sending an emergency notification to the subscriber if an alert is issued for their specific location. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of CodeRED Mobile Alert app subscribers nationwide, with more downloading each day.

Every CodeRED client who has the ability to send calls to their residents through the mapping component, also has the ability to launch those messages to the CodeRED Mobile Alert app as yet another method of outreach to their community. When selecting the mobile app function, the message will be delivered instantaneously to app subscribers who are located in the defined geographic area of the alert. The app enhances the success of all public emergency notification efforts as it adds another layer of making contact with a resident.

“One of the best features about CodeRED is the ability to download its Mobile Alert App via a smartphone. This ensures that anywhere you go within the United States and Canada, you will receive important alerts from other CodeRED subscribers,” said Gregg Bird, PEM Emergency Management Coordinator for Grand Traverse County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “This service not only helps us protect our residents, but it also protects travelers visiting or passing through Grand Traverse.”

If you are a CodeRED user but aren’t familiar with this capability, please contact your jurisdiction’s system administrator or your OnSolve Client Support Representative today at 866-939-0911.

For smartphone owners:

The CodeRED Mobile Alert app can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store or using the Google Play store app. Once downloaded, the subscriber has the ability to select the types of alerts they wish to receive, the alert sound as well as set a warning radius. When a public safety official initiates a notification to the app using CodeRED, you’ll receive a push notification directly to your phone. Community, emergency and missing person alerts are always free, and for $0.99, the CodeRED Weather Warning upgrade can be activated, which automatically delivers notifications issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) without any human intervention required.

The app delivers alert messages based solely on the physical GPS location of the smartphone device, so it will travel with you. The alerting area is defined by the public safety officials who utilize CodeRED to issue the alert.

Subscribers living in that defined area or passing through will receive the notification on their smartphone when an alert is issued, or as they enter an alert area.

IPAWS Emergency Alerts:

The CodeRED Mobile Alert app only provides alerts from the CodeRED emergency notification system; no alerts will be received from any other vendor. It is important to note that from time to time, your smartphone may be alerted from the FEMA IPAWS system through your cellular provider. A FEMA IPAWS alert known as WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) is a push broadcast delivered through cellular towers in the area of the alert and by the cellular providers that participate in the IPAWS government alerting program. Receiving an alert depends solely on the phone’s GPS location.

Most smartphones purchased after 2011 contain an embedded computer chip that is activated through the IPAWS system. This system only notifies smartphone users of imminent threat to lives and property, Amber Alerts and Presidential Alerts.

Each smartphone user can access the WEA feature through their phone’s “Settings.” It is here where you can then select the types of alerts you would like to receive through IPAWS. A user may elect to opt-out of everything except the Presidential Alert function, however it is important to receive these alerts.

Although the CodeRED system does provide an alert origination tool with the ability to send messages to IPAWS, it is not connected to the CodeRED Mobile Alert app. If you would like to learn more about the integrated IPAWS capabilities in CodeRED and how it provides public safety officials with necessary tools to community with the public, visit this page.

For more information about WEA and the IPAWS program visit the following webpage: www.fema.gov/integrated-public-alert-warning-system


Don Hall is the Director of Government Solutions for OnSolve. He has spent over 40 years in public safety making his emergency management experience ideal for helping current clients, potential customers and the emergency management community with their use of mass notification systems for state and local governments.

If you have anything you would like to ask him, please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly in our next “Ask Don” blog.

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