Jefferson County asking residents to sign up for emergency notifications ahead of Monday test

Posted at 6:55 PM, Mar 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 20:57:42-05

(HELENA) Jefferson County leaders are asking residents to sign up for emergency notifications, ahead of a countywide test next week.

At noon on Monday, the county will test its CodeRED reverse notification system. All numbers in the county that are signed up to receive notifications will get a phone call with a prerecorded 60-second message. The message will come from the number (866) 419-5000 or (800) 566-9780. Caller ID might also identify it as from “OnSolve.”

Doug Dodge, Jefferson County’s disaster and emergency services coordinator, said they wanted to test the system to see how it will perform in case of a real emergency.

“The idea of the test is to be able to have the calls go out during one of the busiest times of the day, to make sure the infrastructure can handle the influx of calls,” he said.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office uses the CodeRED system to quickly deliver warnings about emergency situations.

“With this system, we can draw a circle on a map and target those people specifically if there’s a wildfire or a flood or any other kind of evacuation notice that we need to send out,” Dodge said.

Leaders say it’s especially important for businesses to register, along with individuals who have changed their phone number or address in the last year, those with unlisted phone numbers, and those who use cell phones or digital phone services as their primary number.

Dodge said he hopes as many people as possible will register before Monday’s test.

“We definitely want folks to sign up beforehand if they can,” he said. “It only takes about five to ten minutes to sign up. It’s a really easy process.”

Jefferson County residents can sign up for CodeRED notifications by going to the county’s website and clicking the green button reading “Sign up for Emergency Notifications.” They must include a physical address, so they can receive the notifications intended specifically for their area.

People without internet access can contact Jefferson County Disaster and Emergency Services at (406) 225-4035.

If Jefferson County residents believe they are signed up but don’t receive the message on Monday, Dodge recommends signing up again. The system can recognize if a number is already set up to receive notifications.

In an emergency, Dodge said county leaders will also send out important information through the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page and the county’s system of low-powered radio stations.