Manistee County makes switch to CodeRED alert system

Manistee County’s CodeRED Community Notification System has a downloadable mobile app. Residents can sign up now. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

MANISTEE COUNTY — When an emergency situation strikes, it’s best to be prepared. That’s why Manistee County 911 has an emergency alert system.

Lt. Brian Gutowski, emergency management coordinator of the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office, said the county recently switched to a new emergency alert system — CodeRED.

The CodeRED Community Notification System, from OnSolve, allows people to receive emergency alerts on their cellphones, and even download a mobile app to stay up-to-date on the go.

Previously, Manistee County was using the Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS), but Gutowski said they were looking to upgrade their services to a different provider.

“For many years we have been with the WENS system. It’s worked very well,” Gutowski said. “We ended up settling on CodeRED, it has a very user-friendly system. It also has a (mobile) app for people who need to launch the alerts, so they do not have to go to a computer.”

Those who register are able to receive potential life-saving notifications on their cellphones, which includes severe weather warnings or other potential dangers. The past system had about 7,000 registered participants.

Manistee County residents who are not signed up for CodeRED are encouraged to do so. Alerts can received either via text message, by email or can be monitored on the mobile app.

“When you sign up in the system you can select which weather warnings you want,” Gutowski said. “If you want to receive tornado warnings or severe winter weather warnings, those will all get sent to your cellphone if you sign up for them.”

The Manistee County 911 Board decided to make the switch, which came to a cost of around $10,700 for a yearly contract. Gutowski said the county saved $800.

“We are getting more features, a more user-friendly system and saving the 911 board money to do it,” he said. “It’s been a really a win-win situation all the way around making the switch over.”

In the past, the emergency notification system has been used for investigations.

“It also helps with things like criminal investigations. We had an incident where we had to use the WENS system when we were looking for a piece of evidence,” Gutowski said. “The person who found the evidence actually got the message and brought it to us.”

Gutowski said signing up for emergency notifications is a proactive way to be prepared at all times.

“If you get this weather alert coming in, it gives you a little bit of notice to try and prepare,” he said. “If it’s a tornado warning, it allows you to get the notification on your phone and use that extra time to make sure your family is safe.”

Those who are interested can register for CodeRED alerts online.

Residents who were previously signed up for the WENS system should have received a notification to switch to CodeRED.

Contact Ashlyn Korienek at (231) 398-3109 or email akorienek@pioneergroup.com. Follow her on Twitter: @MNA_Ashlyn.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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