GODFREY – The Village of Godfrey is looking to expand its “Code Red” emergency alert system, Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick said Tuesday.

The system, which alerts residents of emergency situations such as tornado warnings, was developed by the Village of Godfrey around seven years ago, McCormick said, before being absorbed by Madison County for use across the entire county. Code Red is a callback system employed by the entire county to send group emergency messages to a caller's cell, email and/or home phone to warn residents of an impending emergency situation, a release from the village stated.

“It got taken over by the county shortly after we made it, which saved us some money, but provides everyone with the same service across the county,” Mayor McCormick said. “We've had it for a while, but Chris Sichra is volunteering his time to make sure people who may have been disconnected from it or new residents can use it. I've gotten Code Red alerts when I'm on vacation, far away from the Village of Godfrey.”

To expand the system, Sichra, who serves as Godfrey's Public Safety Administrator will move the monthly Code Red sign-up program from the village hall and fire station to other community locations. According to a release from the village, this is an effort to “reach more people and provide greater public education to its residents about disaster preparedness.”

During these sign-up drives, Sichra will help Godfrey residents register for the free program and help them prepare themselves for a possible disaster so they can “better protect their family and property.”

The first of these drives will be at the Godfrey Branch of Reliance Bank, located at 2810 Godfrey Road on Thursday April 26 from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sichra will be on site to help residents register for the service and answer questions regarding disaster preparedness.

In the release, Sichra advises people on the importance of such programs as Code Red in locations outside the range of public warning systems – such as sirens – especially in the late hours of the night and early morning.

“I think personally this is better than tornado sirens,” McCormick said. “People these days will sit in their house with the AC blaring and the TV turned all the way up. They won't be able to hear anything like that.”

The Village of Godfrey is looking for more businesses willing to host registration drives within the community. All the village requires is table space and a Wi-Fi signal for a laptop as well as informational pamphlets regarding disaster preparations.

Godfrey Village Trustee Eldon Williams serves as the Chairperson of the Village Public Safety Commission and he praised Sichra's efforts in a release. Williams also encourages all residents of the Village of Godfrey and Madison County to register for Code Red warnings as severe weather season is scheduled to arrive soon (assuming the frost goes away).

Registration can be done at this link: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/68684CD288F8

Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at cory@riverbender.com

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