Washoe County Tests Emergency Alert System - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Washoe County Tests Emergency Alert System

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More than 120,000 people received phone calls from Washoe County Friday, as a test for the new Code Red emergency alert system.

The new program calls residents to inform them about emergencies or disasters happening in the area.

"We ask everyone to make a personal disaster plan, build an emergency supplies kit, and stay informed," Washoe County Emergency Manager Aaron Kenneston said. "This is the big piece of staying informed."

The new Code Red system can call as many as 50,000 people per hour to notify them that there's an emergency in the area, or give them important safety information like when to evacuate and where to go.

Washoe County has been working on this system since the flood of 1997. It's meant to help with major disasters like the Caughlin Fire. Since that fire happened at night in residential neighborhoods, a call system could have woken up residents to let them know faster than other methods like radio, TV, or going door-to-door.

Right now, all homes that have land lines are already in the call database. But residents who just use cell phones will have to opt in to the service.

"Technology is evolving, and we have an expectation that public authorities can reach out quickly to us," Kenneston said, "so we're asking you to meet us halfway."

To add a cell phone number to the database, click here.

Written by Arianna Bennett
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