Guest Column: CodeRED program

SPECIAL OFFER FOR HISTORIC CITY NEWS READERS

This month, I would like to remind all of our citizens of a very helpful tool that’s available if we ever have to evacuate the entire county for a natural disaster or notify portions of the county for any other type of emergency.

Remember, covering 609 square miles of territory in the face of an emergency or disaster is an ominous task. Severe weather conditions or the threat to human life may make access impossible to the most directly affected areas. We at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office feel that the CodeRED system can reach those at risk with potentially lifesaving information.

“CodeRED” serves as a communications personnel force multiplier to the tune of 60,000 call attempts per hour. Sheer demand for the telephone lines that would be needed to attain anything approaching this level of saturation would be overwhelming for our agency, not to mention the staff required to utilize them. Through this system, emergency management personnel can selectively communicate a message to St. Johns County neighborhoods with vital information almost as quickly as they themselves learn of the situation.

The system can be used in a variety of events to include dangerous weather conditions or evacuations, fires, bomb threats, gas leaks, missing children or adults, escaped prisoners, hazardous material emergencies, or sexual predator notifications.

More recently it can be used by other St. Johns County Departments to notify residents of boil water notices and the like. Over the past four years we have used the system to notify neighborhoods of sexual predators, escaped state prisoners, and missing autistic children as well as Alzheimer’s patients who have wandered off.

You can register for this service privately or as a business, without charge, by visiting our website (www.sjso.org) and following the link for CodeRED.

Your information will remain completely private and will only be made available to notify you of critical situations. For those who do not have Internet access but would like to participate, please contact the Community Affairs office at 904-810-6690.

You may speak with Sgt. Mulligan or leave your name, physical street address, as well as a primary and alternate telephone number on his voice mail. You will be contacted to confirm that your information has been received and that you have been added to the CodeRED notification system.

The benefits of this system are only realized when the emergency contact database that we build is accurate and up to date. Once registered, it is important to remember to update us in the event that you move or change telephone numbers.

Since this service is geographically specific, in that we can deliver a message into Julington Creek without the necessity of alerting Crescent Beach, it is necessary for the computer to correlate your telephone number to a specific physical street location. For example, if you happen to live in an area for which a “boil water” advisory has been issued due to a water-main break, CodeRED will call only residents impacted by this important health advisory.

If you recently have moved into a new residence or you would like to be notified by way of a cell phone, text message or email, please go to our website and register at the CodeRED tab. Our goal in this program is to achieve voluntary participation from a majority of the households located within St. Johns County within the next year.

As I close this month, I would like to remind you that there is a wealth of information that you can obtain by visiting your Sheriff’s Office website at www.sjso.org. Also, feel free to contact me if you have any concerns or questions about your Sheriff’s Office. My email address is dshoar@sjso.org. I look forward to hearing from you.

David B. Shoar
St. Johns County Sheriff

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