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'Code Red' guinea pig

March 7, 2012 - Jennifer Brookens
This past weekend, there was a slew of tornadoes that destroyed communities in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. And it's barely March.

With that in mind, chances are it may be an early spring for us and also an earlier start for severe weather. Fortunately, the "Code Red" program might be set up just in time. The Martin County Sheriff's Office was authorized for the "Code Red" program last month, and it's currently in the testing stages. "Code Red" allows people to sign up for weather alerts by cell phone, home phone and e-mail, so that as soon as the weather warning (tornado, severe thunderstorm or flash flood) is issued, your phone is ringing to give you the heads up.

The link to "Code Red" has been posted on the Martin County Web site on the Sheriff's Office page. Once you get to the Sheriff's Office page, click on the "Code Red" logo, then a new page will appear with a "click here" link under the logo. Once you click on that link, you get the sign up page where you can enter your address and zip code. Then enter your phone number(s) and/or e-mails, and choose the alerts you wish to receive.

One note: when you enter a cell phone number, it asks for your provider. If you are not entirely sure, or if you don't have one that's listed such as TracFone, using one of the major providers in the area (i.e. - Verizon, Sprint, etc.) will likely suffice.

Once you have all of your info entered, you can run a test call to make sure it's working. The number comes up as a 800-number, and the recorded voice confirms the sign-up. After submitting your info, the page will show you the three numbers that it uses to give weather warnings and other weather-related information. I saved all three numbers under the "Code Red" entry in my phone's contact list, so I won't think it's just a fishy number and ignore it!

So far, so good! The Sheriff's Department will likely announce to the public that this service is available once they know there are no more kinks or bugs to be addressed. And we at the Sentinel will make sure to bring that information to you!


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