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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County law enforcement to test emergency notification system Thursday morning

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 13, 2017

Don’t be alarmed if your phone wakes you up with an emergency notification Thursday morning.

Chances are, you’re one of about 3,000 people already registered for Spokane County’s emergency notification system called Alert Spokane. Or, you were one of 17,000 people who’ve already registered for Code Red, announced in May.

From 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, officials are testing out the reach of Alert Spokane with a series of tests. They’ll include a phone call from (866) 419-5000, an email from altertspokane@spokanecounty.org or a text message from 76993. The message will start with, “This is an important test message from Alert Spokane. This is only a test.”

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said since June the system has been activated 23 times, 11 of which contributed to locating a missing person. Seven were alerts for people to shelter in place, three were evacuation orders, one was for a shelter location following a fire and another for residents in Airway Heights once it was discovered their drinking water was unsafe.

“We have saved a lot of people’s lives because of Alert Spokane,” he said at a news conference, surrounded by Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl, Liberty Lake police Chief Brian Asmus and Cheney police Cpt. Rick Campbell.

The system is location-based, so officials can pinpoint an area to send alerts. In the case of an active-shooter situation, for example, emergency messages can be sent to only those in the area telling them to shelter in place.

Since landlines are no longer widely used, Knezovich said it’s difficult for law enforcement officials to send out relevant information in a timely fashion, such as when an at-risk person goes missing. He said this is the best option they have moving forward.

“It’s really important for us to have people who can receive this information,” he said.

Spokane County residents are encouraged to sign up for Alert Spokane at www.alertspokane.org. A mobile app is also available on Apple and Android mobile devices. Search for “Code Red” and complete the installation process.

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