"CodeRED" alert accidentally sent to Wood County residents

Published: Aug. 27, 2019 at 5:14 PM EDT
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Wood County's "CodeRED" alert system was launched countywide in June, and is designed to notify residents in case of severe weather or other emergencies. In last night's case, however, the message was sent purely by accident.

"We had a dispatcher that was training and going through the procedures for setting off a CodeRED Alert," explains Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn. "She did not intend to, but accidentally put out the alert."

The alarm was raised at 2:40 in the morning, waking plenty of people across Wood County, and leading to plenty of angry phone calls to the EMA and sheriff's office.

"It was a quiet time, so [dispatchers] were taking advantage of some training," Wasylyshyn explains. "[She] put in a code at the very end that set off the alerts that should not have been put in there. She messed up, and she knows she messed up... but the buck stops with me. I apologize to the citizens of Wood County for getting a test alert at 2:40am... should not have happened."

Officials say that, while accidental this time, receiving the test alert is at least proof that the system should work as intended, should a real threat arise. Wasylyshyn went on to assure that the dispatcher "has learned from this, and I think all the dispatchers now are going to be all the more cautious when they're training, to not put out alerts that should not go out."

If you're a Wood County resident and didn't get the alert, check your settings and make sure it has your specific location instead of a default. That also goes for our 13abc First Warning Weather app, and many other location-based programs.