Ford County launches new alert system

A text alert from the new app

FORD COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Ford County residents may have received an automated phone call today urging them to sign up for a new emergency alert system.

“[There were] 13,000 phone calls,” said Elliot Linke with Ford County. “It took 20 minutes to complete, and we captured approximately 40 percent of those, where people actually picked up.”

A call blast at 10:00 a.m. marked the launch of Ford County’s new emergency alert system called CodeRED.

“We can alert via text, email, an application, or a voice phone call to a landline or cell phone,” said Linke.

It’s part of a national emergency alert system that Ford County will use to send alerts for evacuations, AMBER alerts, and anything else the public should know about.

It will send alerts based on where you register your location or where your cell phone happens to be located at the time down to a tenth of a mile.

“We can actually set that radius and just pull the phone numbers that are in there,” said Linke while demonstrating the app, “so this has pulled up 28 phone numbers, two emails, and two text messages that we would send the message to.”

Ford County already had an emergency alert system, but officials say CodeRED can do more and is more technologically advanced.

“Their application was very user friendly,” said Linke. “We really wanted to make sure we captured the application portion of this, so people are using mobile devices more.”

At this point, the county is urging residents to sign up for alerts in whatever way is easiest, whether that’s entering your address and phone number online or downloading the mobile app to get push alerts.

The new alert system cost Ford County $10,500, which officials say is less than the previous system and has a bigger reach.