Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Beltrami County's Emergency Notification System alerted residents of dangerous fire

 


On Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 a dangerous and rapidly expanding wildfire was reported in Eckles Township northwest of Bemidji. Initial information indicated the fire had already spread to the trees and was moving towards residential areas. Upon arrival of law enforcement and initial fire crews, immediate measures were taken to control the fire and protect life and property. As the fire spread, a decision was made to alert residents in the immediate area of the fire and the potential need for evacuation. A short time later a precautionary voluntary evacuation was advised. As conditions improved and the spread of the fire had been mitigated with aggressive firefighting efforts that order was lifted.

Beltrami County utilizes an Emergency Notification System known as CodeRED. CodeRED has been used by Beltrami County for several years and has provided safety alerts and notifications for a myriad of emergency situations. CodeRED is an opt-in system that residents can enroll to receive emergency notifications from Beltrami County. Alerts can be delivered as a phone call, text message, TDD, email and on the CodeRED Mobile App. Landline phones and cell phones can be enrolled, multiple numbers can be added to the system for an address.

After the alert was disseminated to the impacted area, our office began fielding inquiries as to why not everyone in the area received an alert. There are several different tools to alert the public, CodeRED was used for this fire. We are able to geographically map what area we need to alert. By practice, the area selected to receive the alert is always kept as small as possible. The area selected to receive the alerts on Tuesday was limited to one mile by two miles, the area most impacted by the fire. The alerts are disseminated based off the address affiliated when residents enroll their contacts. Keeping the alert to the impacted area mitigates confusion and doesn’t provoke unnecessary action for peripheral areas. If you want to be able to see all alerts that are pushed to the Mobile App, it is available in the app store as “CodeRED Mobile Alert” and you’ll see all CodeRED alerts.

There are other alerting resources that can be accessed through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) for emergencies. IPAWS can include messages through the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts and Non-Weather Emergency Messages. These resources are opt-out and automatically deliver to your cell phone along with most broadcast media in the local area. The decision was made not to utilize IPAWS as the evacuation was precautionary and voluntary. IPAWS would have alerted a much larger area than necessary.

Enrolling in CodeRED is easy. Residents can create a managed account to add or delete numbers in the future, alternatively residents can enter their information as a guest. You can access the CodeRED enrollment page by visiting the Beltrami County website, click on Law Enforcement and look for the CodeRED banner. Our office received several compliments and praise from citizens for the use of CodeRED to alert them. We encourage all residents to enroll so when disaster strikes next, you can be notified.

The website is directly available here: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/6FAEC3D0EBD7

Mobile users can text “Beltrami” to 99411 to have the enrollment page sent directly to their phone.

-Christopher Muller,

Beltrami County Emergency Management Director

 

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