Jackson changes city emergency alert system to ‘Code Red’

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — When there’s an emergency, like a boil water advisory or an active shooter, getting information out to the community quickly is essential.

And now, the city of Jackson is taking steps to improve its communication system by working with Jackson County.

In a city of 33,000 people, it can sometimes be hard to get information out to residents.

“Some people don’t hear about it, and they’d like to. And whenever we do hear those people, we lead them in the right direction,” said City of Jackson Public Information Officer Will Forgrave.

Forgrave says the city will now be sending Jackson residents to a website called Code Red.

This week, the Jackson City Council voted to stop using its current system, Blackboard, and share the Code Red system with Jackson County government.

The county has already been using the Code Red system for several years.

“Code Red is the exact same thing, and we’re going to be paying $20,000 less for it per year,” Forgrave said.

When there’s something you need to know about, the city will use Code Red to send out text notifications to email and cell phones.

But you can also get voice notifications to your cell or landline.

The city will send out updates on things like leaf pickup and neighborhood meetings, as well as emergencies.

“For instance, if there’s a water main break on a certain block we can just map that out and send it to people who are signed up in that area,” Forgrave said.

Chief Elmer Hitt says the Jackson Police Department can use it for things like a missing person, neighborhood crime alert, or active shooter.

“I could see us in the future moving into utilizing Code Red for different types of incidents and notifications that we think need to get out to the public,” said Chief Hitt.

To sign up, create a Code Red profile with your contact information, then select what kind of notifications you want to receive.

Forgrave expects the city to be fully using the system in December.

“We’re going to get the word out as best we can to people that they should switch over if they still want those notifications,” Forgrave said.

Follow this link to the Code Red website: https://public.coderedweb.com/cne/en-US/BF0404520300

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