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UPDATED: Train derails in fiery blaze; city of Heimdal, N.D., evacuated

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Grand Forks officials say sign up for emergency notices

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news Grand Forks, 58203
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

Grand Forks officials are encouraging the public to sign up for an emergency notification service called CodeRed.

They system, which is activated by the 911 dispatch center here, sends alerts to the phones of those who signed up, notifying them of disasters and potentially hazardous weather.

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“It’s a very, very good idea to sign up for landline and cellular,” said Jim Campbell, emergency manager for the county and city.

If an emergency required action, CodeRed would contact those in the affected area and recommend an option, whether it’s to leave the area or shelter at home, for example, when there’s a tornado warning, he said.

The same service was used in evacuations during the fiery train derailment in Casselton, N.D., last month.

“It worked very well,” said Byron Sieber, director of the 911 dispatch center for Cass and Clay (Minn.) counties. The system sent out three to four notifications during the derailment, he said.

About 20 percent of residents in Grand Forks County are signed up, said Becky Ault, 911-center director.

The center does have a database of landline phone numbers it can use to send out an alert if the users of those numbers don’t sign up for CodeRed, she said, but many people don’t have landlines anymore.

“It’s really important that people sign up their cell phones,” she said. “You never know when this kind of event could occur.”

On the Web: To sign up for CodeRed go to bit.ly/1dBW8bA.

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