Henrico to test its community alert system March 1

Henrico County will test its community alert system Thursday, March 1 by sending a message to more than 182,000 landline phones, wireless devices and email addresses that are registered with the system.

The brief audio or text message from the Division of Fire will explain that a routine test of the CodeRED Community Emergency Notification System is underway and that there is no emergency or cause for alarm.

“One of the primary missions of Henrico County is to ensure the safety and well-being of its community in times of emergency and disaster, and the CodeRED notification system is one method we have to be able to do that,” the message will say in part.

The test is expected to have minimal impact on residents and businesses, and they will not need to answer the call or respond. The test will begin at 10 a.m. The entire process is expected to last about two hours.

Henrico and its system partners will assess the local telephone network’s ability to handle a large number of calls, as could be necessary during a hurricane or other emergency. Officials will then set the system to send out the maximum number of calls per hour without overloading the network. This will reduce the likelihood that calls or messages will be dropped or blocked during an emergency.

Launched in 2012, the Community Emergency Notification System gives designated Henrico emergency personnel the flexibility to send messages countywide or to a selected geography. The system is overseen by the Division of Fire and powered by CodeRED, a high-speed, mass notification system.

Residents and businesses are already equipped to receive voice messages on their landline phones because the system uses Henrico’s 911 emergency dispatch system in reverse. However, individuals must register if they would like to receive messages on their wireless phones, computers and other mobile devices. To sign up, go to henricoalert.org. There is no cost to register; standard messaging fees may apply.

Henrico has more than 172,000 phone numbers in its emergency database and nearly 10,000 phones, wireless devices and email addresses registered voluntarily.

For information, call (804) 501-4900 or go to henrico.us/services/henrico-alert or youtu.be/Y7awrjNfSnA.