LEE COUNTY, Fla.- When bad weather was headed toward Sanibel Island early Saturday morning, the city deployed its code red system to notify the community.
The reverse 911 call automatically goes out to all land lines in the affected area. In this case, it was about 1600 calls to the Gulf Pines area. But to get the notification to your cell phone, you have to sign up with the code red system.
City Manager Judie Zimomra says it is important to sign up, since so many people totally rely on cell phones.
She says across the island, 677 people are signed up to get email alerts and 308 are signed up for texts.
She says they got good feedback from the community, and people appreciated the notification.
About 21,000 people across Lee County are signed up for the mobile service.
Lee County Public Safety Director John Wilson says it is a good way to reach the community.
"It's just another tool in our toolbox to get the word out to people about hazards and other things that may take place in our community," he says.
He says they have not had to use the system for a hurricane since it went county wide in 2010. But he says they use it to alert people to robberies and emergencies in the area.
Collier County also uses the code red system. Currently, Charlotte County does not.
To sign up in Lee County, visit www.leeeoc.com and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on code red.
You can also sign up specifically on Sanibel's website, and the Fort Myers Beach website.