Local law enforcement is trying to contact every household in the county to be sure it has the means to notify all residents of disasters or emergencies in their communities.
The Inyo County Sheriff’s Department tested its CodeRED Emergency Notification System Nov. 4, and is now asking any resident who did not receive an automated call to contact the Sheriff’s Department and have their phone number added to the system.
The CodeRED emergency communication system is designed to notify residents of any natural disasters or community-wide emergencies that could put citizens in danger. Deputies can activate the system to call a specific area, such as Independence or the West Bishop area, or place calls to every listed phone number in the county.
The CodeRED system completed 3,267 calls during its test.
The Sheriff’s Department was able to contact 2,090 Bishop households in case of an emergency. Also, 300 calls went through in the Big Pine area; 140 in the Independence area, including Fort Independence; 301 in Lone Pine; 88 in Olancha and 10 in Wilkerson.
With a total population of more than 17,000 residents and 7,700 households in the county, the Sheriff’s Department is hoping to have more residents register their phone numbers into the database.
The message the Sheriff’s Department sent out earlier this month directed residents to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department’s Web site to add additional contact numbers to the system, and asked residents to spread the word to friends, family and neighbors who have not entered their number into the system.
“All individuals and businesses should take the time to visit our Web site and add contact information to include cellular phones and other non-traditional phones as well as e-mail and text addresses,” said Sheriff Bill Lutze. “If your contact information is not in the database, you will not receive a call when an urgent message is sent.”
Anyone who has not personally added their contact information to the database, who has an unlisted number, or has changed their number recently, is not currently included in the database.
Carma Roper, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Department, said this month’s test of CodeRED prompted more than 800 residents to sign up and add their phone number to the system.
“We’re encouraging all our residents to be pro-active and sign up,” Roper said.
Anyone who would like to add their contact information to the CodeRED system is encouraged to visit www.inyocounty.us/sheriff  and follow the CodeRED link in the middle of the page. Those without Internet access may pick up enrollment forms from the Sheriff’s Substation in the courthouse in Bishop, the Sheriff’s main office at Inyo County Jail in Independence, or at substations in Lone Pine and Death Valley.
It only takes a few minutes to register contact information with the Sheriff’s Department.
The Sheriff’s Department hopes to use the CodeRED system to notify residents of any emergencies that may affect their homes or property, such as floods, mud slides or major damages from earthquakes.
The system may also be used to notify residents of U.S. 395 is closed due to an emergency or, in extreme cases, of severe weather in the area.
For more information on CodeRED or for help signing up, call Carma Roper at (760) 878-0395.