CodeRED provides residents with emergency notifications

By Keisha Howerth

The city of DeKalb is encouraging residents to register their contact information into the new CodeRED alert system.

The DeKalb Fire Department will conduct  a test call at the end of May once more residents register. The CodeRED system will send out emergency and non-emergency notifications to residents via phone calls, text messages, email and social media. Fire Chief Eric Hicks said residents can also receive notifications through the free CodeRED Mobile Alert app.

The city anticipates using CodeRED to notify residents on weather alerts, missing children, evacuations, tornadoes, fires, floods and drinking water emergencies. Hicks said residents will have the option to not receive non-emergency notifications.

“Something non-imminent like a snow route would be in the non-emergency category,” Hicks said.

Community Relations Officer Chad McNett said the city has been provided a database of residential and business phone numbers, but residents should still register their mobile numbers.

“What we’re doing now is trying to get people to register additional numbers,” McNett said. “If something terrible happens, we want people to know.”

Assistant Fire Chief Jeff McMaster said residents’ information will be secure and they won’t receive advertisements.

“We’ve tried to make the [registration] process as easy as possible,” McMaster said.

McMaster said residents can register on the city’s website,, or on the DeKalb Illinois Fire Department and DeKalb Police Department Facebook pages. Users can click the CodeRED icon and register the phone numbers and email addresses for where they’d like to receive notifications.

“If someone doesn’t have access to a computer, they can contact the fire or police department and sign up by phone,” Hicks said.

McMaster said planning for a city-wide alert system began two years ago. The old alert system, Reverse 911, could only leave voice messages through landlines.

“We realized that more people have mobile and that some don’t even use landline anymore,” McMaster said.

McMaster said the city will have the option to send messages to a certain block or neighborhood in danger, if not all of DeKalb.

“If there was a gunman running through a neighborhood, we can alert those residents to keep their doors locked,” McMaster said.