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Emergency system calls few in weekend of storms
CodeRed no show?
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So, you didn’t get a call from the county’s emergency call system CodeRed during the weekend of storms and flooding on June 21-23. Or if you did, it was only on your cell phone.

There are two very connected reasons for that, according to 911 Dispatch Director Julie Cipra.

“You have to opt in for severe weather warnings,” Cipra said. “Everyone will receive dispatch originated calls, but you have to choose to receive the automated weather service calls.”

Last weekend, Crawford County Dispatch did not issue an alert of their own.

Calls and online sign-up for the service has been modest so far, according to Cipra. However, those who opted-in are largely cellphone users. Very few landline users have called or gone online to choose the weather alert system.

 “We were swamped responding to calls,” Cipra said of the busy weekend caused by several severe storms and the associated problems. “We called people in, we had jailers up to help. The fire department was out evacuating a limited number of people, so they would have been notified before the call could be set up.”

The system is made for broad alerts, according to Cipra. To make localized, specific calls for events such as the limited evacuation in Gays Mills would be quite time consuming, requiring dispatchers to create a separate list of limited numbers.

“Obviously, we would like everything sent out on CodeRed,” said Crawford county Sheriff Dale McCullick. “This is a new system. It’s going to work as well as we make it work. And just because there is CodeRed, you still need to rely on your own sense, as well.”

There are two ways to opt in on the weather alerts or to sign up additional phones:

• visit the Crawford County online at www. and click on the CodeRed and CodeRed Weather Warning link; or

• call 608-326-0267 to leave a message and someone will return your call to assist you with signing up.

“We encourage people to ask a friend for help or go to the library for help, if they don’t have easy access for signing up,” said CodeRed spokewoman Stephanie Meyer. “Citizen responsibility is an important part of any system working. People have to sign up or opt-in if they want the protection of CodeRed notifications.”