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Code Red Reverse 9-1-1 Ups Safety During Wildfire Season

It was implemented in Butte County after the Spillway Crisis; now, the City of Chico will use the same tool to protect the public during wildfire season.

Posted: Jun. 11, 2018 4:04 AM
Updated: Jun. 13, 2018 5:55 AM

Butte County, Calif.-- Chico emergency responders have access to a new and potentially life-saving resource - "Code Red".

It's essentially 9-1-1 in reverse, and it's something that was first brought on at the county level after the Oroville Dam Spillway Flood Crisis evacuation.

This is how emergency responders get the word out when there's a dangerous situation like a wildfire, a hazardous materials incident, an active shooter.

So, *Action News Now* spoke with Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea what they've learned from that first experience with the technology - and it's a lot more involved than sending out a mass phone call.

"Notifying people in an emergency situation requires you to message people across as many platforms as possible, and systems like Code Red, a reverse 9-1-1 to landlines and cell phones, is just one of the ways we use to try tio notify people in emergencys," said Honea.

Chico Fire Division Chief Jesse Alexander tells me that the department has not used "Code Red" yet.

But they have the plan down; the incident commander evaluates each emergency and makes the call. then, dispatch sends out a mass call to the people living in the area at risk.

"Having more tools available always helps out, and just to get that message out as quickly as possible because when you do an evacuation, going door-to-door goes very slow - it takes a lot of resources and a lot of time, so getting people on the roadway as fast as possible helps," said Division Chief Alexander.

That means you will still have deputies going door-to-door ,but that in itself just isn't enough.

So, sign up for the App and you'll get emails, alerts and a phone call directly to your cell phone in an emergency that impacts where you live.

If you have a landline, that number is automatically in the system.

It's not just for evacuation - this could work for a hazardous materials incident - emergency responders could use the code red alert to instruct people in a certain area to shelter in place.

Chief Alexander says you'll still see firefighters or police going door-to-door to make sure that everyone is out when a fire approaches, but "Code Red" gives more people a head start.



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