Natasha Lovato / NewsBreak Denver
(Douglas County, Colo.) After last weekend’s fatal shooting at a New York grocery store, officials want to ensure residents access Douglas County’s emergency notification system.
The county uses the CodeRED emergency alert system, and about 321,000 phone numbers out of Douglas County's 368,990 residents are registered.
The alerts provide critical information in emergencies, the most recent only weeks ago when the system alerted Castle Rock residents of a gas leak.
How CodeRED works
CodeRED is a web-based critical communication solution that enables local public safety personnel to notify residents of time-sensitive information, emergencies or urgent notifications. The system reaches hundreds of thousands of individuals in minutes to share information quickly. Only authorized emergency communications personnel can access the CodeRED system to send alerts by phone, text, email and social media. Each user chooses the preferred contact method when registering for CodeRED alerts.
The county uses the system to send safety-related alerts, including gas leak notifications, evacuation notices, police activity, fire emergencies, missing persons, and more.
"Only a couple of weeks ago a CodeRED was sent out regarding a gas leak in Castle Rock," said Deputy Cocha Heyden, the public information officer for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
Heyden added that a situation in early April also warranted a CodeRED alert.
"Beginning of April there was a SWAT incident in Highlands Ranch that we used it for," she said.
"Essentially we utilized a search warrant and had to notify people to shelter in place for the equipment SWAT had to use."
Heyden added that CodeRED users will always receive instructions and a follow-up notification to let them know when it's safe to resume daily activities.
"We let the residents know what we need them to do, for instance, if there was an active shooting situation, we would tell them to shelter in place, lock their doors, stay inside — that kind of thing. Then another notification is sent out to let residents know when it's safe," Heyden said.
CodeRED has about 321,000 subscribed phone numbers in Douglas County. The system uses geo-targeting to notify residents in affected areas. Residents receive notifications based on their location.