Right now, we are learning more about the major upgrade to Henrico's emergency alert system. It's called Code Red. Now, along with being notified on a land line you can also sign up to get the notifications to your cell phone or computer.
We've already seen it work when two elderly men went missing. When 67-year-old Donald Borden never came home, concerned family members called police. But it was a phone call to people in his Tuckahoe neighborhood that helped officers narrow down their search. Nancy and John Longstreth heard their phone ring that night.
"We have never received a phone call like that," said Nancy. "They told us what he was wearing and about how old he was, so it was extremely helpful."
The phone calls are part of Henrico's Code Red Emergency Alert system. The call can go countywide or to a selected neighborhood. The notifications to your cell phone or computer are the new, improved part of the system.
"It is a tool that we're using right now to keep your family safe," said Captain James Mellon with the Henrico Fire Department.
You have to sign up at HenricoAlert.org. There's even an app for that. Captain Mellon says the alerts are only for big emergencies like a missing person, hazardous situation or a boiling water alert.
"This definitely speeds up the process, it gets the word to the people who are the eyes on the street," Captain Mellon said.
Those sets of extra eyes, according to Captain Mellon, helped police find Borden safe a few hours after he went missing.
In addition to Henrico, 25 other localities including Goochland and Colonial Heights use the Code Red system.