First test of Isanti County CodeRED emergency notification system is complete

fr_CodeRedApproximately 16,000 phone numbers within Isanti County were part of the first test of Isanti County’s CodeRED emergency notification system.

The CodeRED system allows authorized emergency officials to notify residents and businesses by telephone, cellphone, text message, email and social media regarding time-sensitive general and emergency notifications.

According to Isanti County Emergency Management Director Mari Bostrom and Isanti County Chief Deputy Chris Caulk, Isanti County started with 16,053 records to be called during the first CodeRED testing administered June 17.

The CodeRED system was able to connect via live answer or answering devices to 10,005 phone numbers, encompassing 62 percent of the Isanti County database.

Bostrom and Caulk explained the remaining 6,048 non-connections will be further tested to verify if they are non-working numbers. They said some of these non-connections may be disconnected lines, busy or just a no-answer. After further testing is complete, any non-working numbers will be deleted out of the Isanti County database.

“The CodeRED system provides Isanti County officials the ability to quickly deliver messages to targeted areas or the entire town,” Bostrom said. “Isanti County officials conducted a test of the CodeRED emergency notification system to determine its performance capabilities at how quickly notifications could be delivered to the entire community in case of an actual emergency based on the capacity of the local telephone infrastructure.”

Caulk said if a member of the public received a phone call, then they are already registered into the system and no further action is needed. However, they can go online into the CodeRED system and update contact information if so desired.

If a member of the public didn’t receive a phone call from the CodeRED system on June 17, they need to register the phone number. The phone number can be registered by visiting the CodeRED link found on the Isanti County website, An Isanti County home or work address is needed in order to register.

If you cannot register online, call Bostrom at 763-689-8306 or Caulk at 763-689-2141 and they can assist you with completing your registration over the phone. Required information includes first and last name, street address (physical address, no P.O. boxes), city, state, zip code and primary phone number. Additional phone numbers can be entered as well.

Bostrom and Caulk said all Isanti County businesses should register, as well as all Isanti County residents who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the past year, and those who use a cellphone or VoIP phone as their primary number. They reiterated the CodeRED system is a service of the Emergency Communications Network and all registration information will be kept private.

Caulk said, overall, he was pleased with the first testing of the new system.

“The CodeRED system was able to contact the entire emergency calling database in less than 20 minutes,” Caulk said. “Future calling speeds will be dependent on many factors, including how long the message is and the number of residents who are designated to receive the message.”

Bostrom said the CodeRED system will not be used for severe weather events, such as tornado warnings or severe thunderstorm warnings.

Caulk said the CodeRed system will be used for large-scale emergency situations such as police matters relating to missing children or missing elderly; armed or dangerous criminal suspects; notifications of hazardous traffic or road conditions; or evacuation notices.

“It will ultimately be up to the incident commander to determine if a CodeRED notification will be sent out to the affected property owners,” Caulk said. “We will also use the system in situations where we can use the public’s help, such as finding missing persons or locating suspects.”

Bostrom said the system will be utilized when there is a benefit for public information.

“The system will be used in emergency situations where there is a need to spread information quickly to protect the public and keep them safe and knowledgeable of what is happening,” Bostrom said. “People will not be called a lot on this system. But when they are called, it will be to provide information during situations they will want to know about.”

Caulk said the CodeRED system has been utilized by Isanti County for about two years, but has been mainly used for internal purposes among law enforcement and emergency responders.

Caulk said the system was purchased through 911 funds.

“This is really a good calling system to have, and it really benefits the community by having a way to easily disseminate up-to-date information,” Caulk said. “The more people we can make aware of a missing person, or locating a suspect, the better. We want to do everything we can to keep our communities safe.”