The City of Great Falls sent a press release on Monday to urge people to sign up to receive CodeRED notifications for disaster/emergency situations.
The message was prompted by last month’s explosion and fire at the Calumet Refinery. CodeRED is a notification service that allows emergency officials to notify residents and businesses by telephone, cell phone, text message, email and/or social media regarding time-sensitive general and emergency notifications. Click here to sign up or learn more.
Here is the full text of the press release:
On March 7, 2019, Calumet Refinery had an explosion and fire that got everyone’s attention. An event like this is a reminder that the community needs to be prepared and informed about what to do if a catastrophic event occurred near their location. At the incident debrief, Calumet staff asked Great Falls Fire Chief Steve Hester, how public safety officials notify the community about incidents or disasters and what is the appropriate action on the part of the citizens? Both are appropriate and timely questions. Chief Hester responded by explaining the City’s emergency notification system.
Five years ago, Cascade County and the City of Great Falls launched an emergency notification service known as CodeRED. CodeRED is an emergency notification service that allows emergency officials to notify residents and businesses by telephone, cell phone, text message, email and social media regarding time-sensitive general and emergency notifications. To receive emergency notifications, residents must register online. Hester stated “Our goal is to get everyone to sign up for CodeRED. Not just individual citizens but also commercial facilities and businesses. It is kind of like installing a smoke alarm in your home; it may save your life one day.”
In addition, Hester makes it clear that while the refinery has its risks, the public must also consider commercial transportation of hazardous materials throughout the community and the inherent risk associated with a chemical release, explosion or fire on the rail or the road. These incidents are not isolated to a specific location and can happen anywhere and at any time. He states, “People need to be prepared for such an event at or near their home and business. There are only about 26 public safety officers on duty at any given time in Cascade County to service over 70,000 citizens. During a disaster, people have to know they need to be ready to take care of themselves.”
One important way the community can prepare for a disaster is to understand and practice “shelter-in-place” procedures. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to shelter in place citizens should:
- Get Inside. Bring loved ones, emergency supplies and when possible pets,
- Find a safe spot in this location. The exact spot will depend on the type of emergency, and
- Stay put in this location, until officials, say this it is safe to leave.
Listen carefully to local radio or television or Code Red exact directions for the appropriate emergency response. The instructions will vary based on the type of disaster.
To get more information and to register on Code-Red visit: https://greatfallsmt.net/community/codered-emergency-notifications
If a Great Falls organization, business, or company would like more information or training on emergency preparedness, please call Chief Steve Hester at 406-791-8965.