GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Police Department is encouraging people to sign up for Code Red, a notification system used to alert the community about emergency situations, missing children, and more.
The Code Red system was used on Tuesday as police searched for a missing 11-year-old girl in Great Falls; the girl was found within a couple of hours and was safe.
At about 1 p.m., the GFPD used its Code Red system to send an automated phone messages to people who live in the vicinity and are registered with the Code Red system. According to the GFPD, more than 5,000 people received the phone message within five minutes, and more than 700 received a text message.
The Code Red system is free - but you must sign up to receive alerts. Once you register, you must specifically opt-in to receive alerts.
Along with missing persons, alerts can also be issued for severe weather, fires, and other natural disasters.
"It just heightens the awareness that, 'Hey, there's something going on here and it's serious and we need the community's help.' When the community pitches in, it benefits everybody,” said Adrienne Ehrke, the GFPD social media manager.
Ehrke said many community members got in their cars and drove around looking for the girl, and many others went outside their homes or businesses to look around, when they got the alert. Fortunately, a police officer found the little girl.