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Monroe County updates alert system with Code Red

Rochester, N.Y. - You may have received a call from Monroe County Thursday.  The county is testing a new emergency notification service featuring faster and improved service.

"Everything is getting better with the new technology out now," said John Merklinger, Director of Monroe County's 911 Center.

The county has used a reverse notification system for the last 10 years to successfully locate missing people or to inform people of a police situation in their neighborhood.  Such systems allow them to target the alert to as few or as many people as needed.

The Code Red system adds considerable upgrades.  "Speed is a big improvement," said Merklinger.  "It would take hours to call thousands of people. Now we call a million houses in about 45 minutes."

Anyone with a hard line phone is automatically linked to the system.  Cell phones must be registered at Monroe County's website (  In about three minutes you can link your cell to your home address, your business address or both.  You can also elect to be notified via text or e-mail.

And there is a new app that links to other Code Red systems nationwide.  "That can be used anywhere in the country," said Merklinger.   "If you travel a lot and if you are in an area and there is an emergency and they are a code red customer you will be notified even if you don't live in that area."

The app is free.

Monroe County wants to get the word out to cell phone customers.  Of the 380,000 cell phones county wide, only 29,000 are currently registered.

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Washington Times