FREE severe weather warning system now available

Residents of Custer County are being offered a FREE, high-speed notification system to warn them of impending severe weather. And this time of year, severe weather poses a very real threat to the citizens of our area. Custer County Emergency Management Director Shawn Owens works closely with the cities and communities in Custer County to implement public safety plans. Owens, who took over the office March 1, says it is the task of his office to make sure the proper departments and entities throughout the county are equipped to respond to any emergency situation. “Our job is to do what we can to protect the citizens of the county and prepare plans for doing that, before an emergency hits,” Owens explains. He says the CodeRED Weather Warning service is a vital link in that community preparedness plan. CodeRED is an automatic severe weather notification service designed to alert citizens in the path of severe thunderstorms, flash floods and tornados. When citizens register for the service they may select which types of warnings they would like to receive. They may also choose to receive their message by text or by voice on either their cell phone or home phone. This no-charge update will allow message recipients to easily identify calls coming through the system, as their caller ID will read Emergency Communications Network or the number 800-566-9780 will appear on caller ID displays. “Most relevant for our citizens, residents can simply dial the number displayed on their caller ID to hear the last message delivered,” says Owens. “This will greatly reduce the number of inbound inquiries handled by our office and will offer residents an immediate replay of the message.” The CodeRED system provides Custer County officials the ability to quickly deliver messages to targeted areas, or the entire county. It is recommended that all businesses register, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the past three years, and those who use a cell or home phone as their primary number. It is recommended that those without Internet or need help using it ask family and friends to first to get registered. If you are not sure that you are in the database, or you would like to register, simply log on at www.custercountychief. com and click on the CodeRED link located at the bottom left of the front page. In addition to, you can also log on through the Broken Bow Police Department, Broken Bow Public Schools or KCNI/KBBN. CodeRED Weather Warning is an opt-in only weather warning product that taps into the National Weather Service’s storm based warnings. CodeRED automatically alerts affected citizens in the path of severe weather just moments after a warning has been issued. Owens says with the CodeRED system, as many as 4,000 calls can be placed in less than five minutes. This makes for a very fast, efficient public safety tool that could potentially save many lives. “Our responsibility is to prepare people county-wide for an emergency event,” says Owens referring to the emergency management office. “CodeRED gives us an effective method of doing that.”