Stevens County joins in Severe Weather Awareness Week drills
MORRIS — Stevens County will join the state of Minnesota recognizing Severe Weather Awareness Week from April 11 to 15.
On Thursday, April 14, municipalities across the county will participate in two statewide tornado drills, one at 1:45 p.m. and another at 6:55 p.m. At that time, a dispatcher at the Stevens County Law Enforcement Center will sound tornado sirens.
During a severe weather event, the sirens are activated when a trained weather spotter observes a tornado, a funnel cloud or a wall cloud moving into the siren coverage area. The sirens can also be activated if there are straight line winds in excess of 70 miles per hour — enough to break or uproot trees, damage antennas, or cause building damage — or large hail (golfball sized or larger) moving into the area.
If the National Weather Service advises there is an imminent threat of any of these weather events, a Stevens County law enforcement officer, emergency manager or fire chief can also activate a siren.
Sirens are activated to notify persons who are outdoors to move to shelter or a safe location.
Stevens County residents can also get weather alerts by signing up for CodeRed, an emergency notification service that can notify residents via landline phone, cell phone, text message, email and social media.
Residents can sign up for CodeRed alerts by going to the county website, www.co.stevens.mn.us, and clicking on the "CodeRed" icon. This link will take viewers to an outside site to sign up for weather and emergency alerts.
The sign up website can also be found at https://public.coderedweb.com/cne/en-US/BFDF9053561B.
Residents can also sign up over the phone by calling 320-208-6507, or opt-out using either method.
Official alerts from CodeRed will come from one of two phone numbers. Emergency messages will have a caller ID of 866-419-5000 and general messages will have caller ID of 855-969-4636. If the call is not picked up, CodeRed will leave a message on a machine or voicemail.
There is also a CodeRed mobile app that can be downloaded for free from Google Play and iTunes. This app provides real-time, hyperlocal alerts to subscribers within the reach of a given location — regardless of whether they are signed up to receive alerts in that area. The free mobile app does not include weather alerts.