CodeRED goes live in Lead

Lead Police Chief John Wainman demonstrates the new CodeRED telephone emergency alert system in his office. Pioneer photo by John Higgins

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LEAD — The new CodeRED emergency alert system is now active in Lead, and any resident with a publicly-listed local phone number was automatically enrolled in the telephone messaging system, designed to quickly alert Lead residents of dangerous or crucial events.

Private phone lines, including most cell phone numbers, have not yet been enrolled in the system, and residents must visit the CodeRED website to be included.

“It is important that people get in and sign up if they want the notifications,” said Lead Police Chief John Wainman.

The system, already in use in Spearfish, Deadwood, Belle Fourche, and Sturgis, allows emergency notifications to reach more people more quickly, releasing essential information in a matter of minutes.

The alert may also be targeted to a certain area of town. A single neighborhood can be alerted for a localized problem, like a water leak. Should water need to be shut off for repairs, the city can contact only those whose addresses will be affected.

The system can address a wide variety of emergencies, including major accidents that close roads, severe storms, or even the sighting of a mountain lion in a neighborhood. Photographs may also be sent out to smart phones in cases of missing children or dangerous fugitive notifications.

Wainman suggested that alerts could even save citizens money by sending messages announcing snow removal routes.

“It would save the citizens in tow bills and tickets, and it would improve the efficiency of the street guys who are already incredible,” Wainman said.

A resident may register a private phone number on the CodeRED website at Click on the “Resident Enrollment” link on the upper right of the page and follow the instructions. Registration takes only minutes.

Users may enroll cell phone numbers and additional lines. Messages by text or Twitter are also available, as well as through a free CodeRED app.

Non-emergency messages may also be sent by the city, though enrollees may decline non-emergency contacts at the CodeRED website.

Wainman emphasized that CodeRED is a voluntary service.

“If (residents) don’t want to be notified, they won’t be notified. It’s just that simple,” he said.

Residents who have been automatically registered may unregister their numbers on the CodeRED website. The alert service gathered phone numbers from the White Pages or other public lists, and the city was not involved in that process.

“We have not released anything from our databases that is not a public record already. This company won’t get any information from us,” said Wainman.

The CodeRED emergency alert system will be used for the rest of the year on a trial basis but may be permanently adopted by the city commission.

“The cost for the CodeRED emergency alert system for the remainder of 2016 is $1,809.17.  The 2017 cost is $4,316.  Both come out of the general fund,” said City Administrator Mike Stahl by email.

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