Village Introduces New Emergency Alert System

Fire Chief Robert Wilcox salutes Firefighter William Toberman at the 2010 Firefighters Awards Ceremony. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Village of Park Forest has recently expanded their partnership with the Villages of Matteson, Olympia Fields and Richton Park to provide an emergency notification system to its residents under the SouthCom umbrella. The CodeRED Emergency Notification System is an ultra high-speed telephone communication service designed to deliver emergency messages and distribute information considered to be important in all or specific areas of the Village. The mayor and trustees were introduced to the system at Monday’s meeting of the Village Board.

This system allows Village officials to telephone targeted areas of the Village or the entire Village within minutes. It then delivers a pre-recorded message describing the situation to residents directly or an answering machine in the affected area. When necessary, residents will be given specific instructions which may require immediate action on their part.

All calls from 866-419-5000 to Village residents are from the CodeRED System. Residents who would like to hear the last message delivered to their phones can simply dial the number back.

While a calling data base was developed from SouthCom’s Computer Aided Dispatch system, there may be homes in Park Forest that no longer have a regular "land-line" telephone. In these cases it is critically important that residents and businesses alike register their phone numbers with the Village.

Anyone who resides in or is a business owner with property within the area protected by the Village of Park Forest and would like to receive CodeRED emergency messages may sign up by clicking the link below. Please use the property address and not a Post Office Box when entering contact information.

Officials say contact information remains private and will only be used for community notifications.

Register for CodeRED emergency notification system.

The Village offers the following Frequently Asked Questions on its Web site:

What is CodeRED?
The CodeRED Emergency Notification System is a fast communication service allowing the Village of Park Forest to notify citizens of an emergency situation. It enables the Village to provide mass notification quickly and easily. This service is free to all Park Forest residents and businesses located within our incorporation limits. Residents of the Village are encouraged to register for this service on this site.

How will I benefit from this service?
This high-speed telephone system will allow the Village of Park Forest to contact participants to provide information about a situation, what action needs to be taken if any, and in some cases notification that the situation has been resolved.

What do I have to do to receive this benefit?
To receive CodeRED, you must register your home, cellular phone or business phone number in the CodeRED database.  Register to sign up for CodRED. 

How does it work?
CodeRED delivers the message through a high-speed telephone calling system to a phone number on the CodeRED database. Village staff or SouthCom Telecommunicators will access CodeRED via a secure portal on the web. A specific call area can be marked identifying street addresses or a Village wide notification may be necessary. Once selected the telephone numbers will be matched up electronically to these addresses through the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). A pre-recorded message will be sent out via the telephone with information about the incident and possibly instructions for action to be taken.

What should I do if I receive a CodeRED message?
Listen carefully. Follow instructions. Don’t hang up until you hear the whole message (the message will not be repeated). DO NOT CALL 9-1-1 unless instructed to do so (you will only tie up emergency lines).

What should I do if I don’t receive a message?
Your area of the community may not be affected. In which case, you won’t receive a call even if it’s only a block away.  But if you see 866-419-5000 displayed, you will know the call was from us. If you would like to hear the last message delivered to your phone, simply dial the number back.

Will the system work with cellular phones?
Yes. But your cellular phone number needs to be associated with your Village of Park Forest street address. We encourage you to register your cellular phone number.

What is CodeRED used for?
CodeRED will be used for significant incidents and events where the timely notification of an affected population or geographic area is essential. This system will be used for emergency and non-emergency purposes. Some of the examples of types of incidents or events when the CodeRED system will be utilized (non-emergency messages will be done in text format through your registered cellular telephone): 

*Utility outages, water main breaks, street closings, evacuation notices, missing persons, natural disasters including floods or fires, chemical spills, gas leaks, crime alerts, and other information of importance to citizens.

How do I register?
Individuals interested in registering will be required to add a telephone number into the CodeRED database. Information also required will be first and last name, physical street address (no P.O. boxes), city, state and Zip Code. An alternate phone number such as a cellular phone can also be entered and both the primary and alternate line will be contacted in the event of an emergency. The system works with cellular phones but requires a street address in the Village of Park Forest.

For those who are hearing impaired the sign up form offers a TDD ONLY option for tone delivery of emergency messages. Messages delivered to phone numbers marked TDD will only be delivered in a TDD/TTY format.

Residents without Internet access can sign-up on-line at either Village Hall or the Park Forest Library.

Register for CodeRED emergency notification system.