Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Durham 911 Center Debuts New Weather Warning Service

The next time severe weather comes to Durham, residents and businesses in the path of the storm will get a call if they have registered for Durham’s new CodeRED® Weather Warning Service.

The Durham Emergency Communications Center has recently updated its account with Emergency Communications Network, providers of the Center’s current CodeRED high-speed notification solution, to now include the CodeRED Weather Warning Service. This opt-in weather warning service, which is at no cost to residents and businesses in Durham County, will issue an automated alert to those in the path of severe weather just moments after a warning has been issued by the National Weather Service’s Storm-Based Warnings.

According to Durham Emergency Communications Center Director James Soukup, the severe weather experienced last spring, which lead to several fatalities in the Triangle area, prompted his department and the Durham City-County Emergency Management Department to look for more ways to help alert residents to severe weather. “With some forms of severe weather, there is very little time to get to a safe area or seek shelter. When severe weather strikes during the night, it’s even more difficult for alerts to get out since people are asleep,” Soukup said. “We were seeking another tool to help us reach out directly to our residents and an immediate phone call using CodeRED seemed like a great solution to help supplement the other systems in place for severe weather notifications.”

According to Soukup, residents and businesses who want to register their phone numbers for this service need to simply visit the City’s website and follow the online instructions. “We want all residents and businesses to register, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the past year, and those who use a cellular phone or VoIP phone as their primary number,” Soukup said. “Those without Internet access may contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., to supply their information over the phone and we’ll get them registered.”

When messages are sent by this system, recipients with Caller ID displays will see Emergency Communications Network or the number 800-566-9780 for all CodeRED Weather Warning calls.

The Durham Emergency Communications Center already uses the CodeRED system to communicate crime alerts and other emergency updates; however, users signed up for these types of alerts will need to opt-in from the City’s website to begin receiving weather alerts too. Later this month, all land lines listed in Durham County, as well as all the phones numbers currently registered in the CodeRED system for other types of alerts, will receive an automated call regarding the new weather alert system with instructions on how to register for this new opt-in service.

The annual fee of $15,000 to provide the new severe weather notification component of the CodeRED system is being funded by the Durham City-County Emergency Management Department. 

To register for the CodeRED Weather Warning System, visit the City’s website and click on the link entitled “Residential, Business, and Weather Warning Data Update Page.”

For more information, contact Soukup at (919) 560-4191 or by email at

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