Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

New alerting system is prepared for severe weather season. Are you?


Spring is near and with it often comes severe weather.

March 21-25 is Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Week, and recently our county has installed the CodeRed system in the Kimball Sheriff’s office to help assure that Kimball residents are “weather-ready”.

Sheriff Gillway, along with Kimball County’s General Assistant Coordinator, Linda Williams, were instrumental in gathering the information and ultimately doing most of the leg-work in obtaining the new system.

The new CodeRED system will be easier for local authorities and residents to use, according to Sheriff’s Office personnel, because today’s technology has changed the way people would prefer to receive alerts.

Thus far, more than 2,025 cell phone, home phone and email addresses have signed up for the alert and will receive messages during an emergency, as well as basic community information.

This outreach program can notify residents and Kimball County personnel via phone calls, text messages, emails, or through social media in case of any emergency, but can also be used to inform residents of important community events, such as a health fair, according to Kimball County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher Erin Heidemann.

The messages will be computer automated, and Sheriff’s office staff members have been active in putting together information needed for the system for the last five or six weeks.

Williams added that while dispatcher Heidemann is the tech-savvy person on staff, everyone in the department is very familiar and knowledgable about the program.

Residents have the option of downloading the CodeRED mobile alert app to receive messages, while they are traveling as well, according to Gillway.

In addition to CodeRed, local authorities will also be using the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

IPAWS allows anyone traveling through an area with a mobile device to receive emergency notifications as well.

“Everyone who has a mobile device in a geographical area, and it’s scaleable – we can decide if it’s a small area, or larger– even if they are not from our area, will get the call.”

The CodeRED app also will give the local authorities the ability to reach not only residents, but people in the area at the time of a crisis or emergency including transients, visitors, people traveling nearby on Interstate 80 or the highways.

The Kimball Sheriff’s department is asking residents to get signed up for the new CodeRed system alerts and to be prepared.

Furthermore, after receiving the notification from our local departments - have your plans in place, in advance, for any emergency situation.

Will you know what to do if you are in your car, at work or at home? Do you have an elderly neighbor that you are willing to add to your preparedness plan?

Those who are not able to sign-up to the new system via internet, may ask a friend, family member or co-worker to input their information online to receive the alerts. You may also contact the Sheriff’s Office for more information on this subject, at 308-235-3615.


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