By SAMANTHA PIDDE

The City of Mount Carroll will officially begin its CodeRED alert system Thursday, July 11, and Police Chief Fred Cass and city officials encourage the public to sign up for the program.

The CodeRED notification system allows participating communities to send out messages informing citizens of a wide selection of emergency situations as well as upcoming community events.

The city has contracted with CodeRED system at an annual cost of $1,500 and officials said they plan to use it to notify residents about road closures, boil orders, hazardous weather, community events and more.

Chief Cass said at the June 11 city council meeting that a Mount Carroll address was required to sign up for the alerts, later clarifying that CodeRED is available to anyone with a 61053 zip code.

On Thursday, July 11, Cass will send out an "all call" notification through CodeRED.

In an interview with the Mirror-Democrat, he said the system will "grab" every public phone number in the 61503 zip code and send out a recorded message. Anyone receiving the message who does not want to be a part of the system can "opt out.”

Those wanting to opt out or who need assistance setting up a CodeRED account may call City Hall at 815-244-4424. Cass said the city hopes to have an extra person at City Hall Thursday and Friday, July 11-12, to help answer phones and provide assistance.

The city's website — https://www.mtcarrollil.org — has a link to the CodeRED sign-up page. The entire process takes only a few minutes, Chief Cass said, and people can list several methods of contact, including landline phones, cell phones and email.

Those signing up can list multiple phone numbers and emails and can choose to receive calls or text messages or both. Participant can select what type of alerts they wish to receive: Emergency, general or both.

CodeRED messages will have the caller ID numbers of 866-419-5000 for emergencies and 855-969-4636 for non-emergencies. It is suggested that people put both numbers in their phones' contact information, under CodeRED.

CodeRED also offers a free mobile application for Android and iPhone devices. Based on a phone's geo-location, the app allows individuals to receive alerts as they travel through other CodeRED communities. The app can be downloaded via Google Play, the App Store or a QR code.

Additional information on CodeRED is available at City Hall and on a variety of flyers Chief Cass has distributed throughout the community.