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Reverse 9-1-1 Sandy Water Crisis
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Call to action: Register your cell phone with Reverse 9-1-1

A photo of the brown water that poured out of one Sandy resident's taps, posted to Twitter on Friday. (Bryan Konnick / Twitter)

When Sandy City decided – too late – to warn the 2,800 affected homes that the water in their taps was unsafe, they rushed to their main notification system: Reverse 9-1-1.

It was the system the city was relying upon to let its residents know when something had gone wrong, a system that would allow them to call every name on their list and warn them whenever they were in danger.

But this, as Mayor Kurt Bradburn would later admit, was another in a long line of missteps. In the days of landlines, the plan would have worked wonders. Today, however, all but a few people use cell phones, which aren’t automatically registered with Reverse 9-1-1, and so the system was only able to reach about 50 people.

That’s a major problem, not just for Sandy but for every city that uses the system. Emergency alert systems like Reverse 9-1-1 are a city’s quickest and most effective way to warn its residents of disasters and emergencies, but in the age of cell phones, only a handful of people are signed up to receive them.

That’s why KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic are issuing a call to action for everyone to sign up for their city’s emergency alert system.

How to sign up for Reverse 9-1-1

Reverse 9-1-1 CodeRED

Most counties in Utah use either Reverse 9-1-1 and CodeRED as their emergency alert system.

Anyone living in Salt Lake County can sign up for Reverse 9-1-1 by following these steps:

1. Click here to visit the VECC website
2. Enter your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address.
3. Check your e-mail for a confirmation e-mail.
4. Click on the link in your e-mail to confirm your registration.

Once signed up, you will be able to receive phone calls, e-mails, and text messages warning of you any emergencies that might affect your household.

Outside of Salt Lake County, each of Utah’s cities and counties have their own emergency alert systems. Residents of some of the larger counties can sign up for emergency alerts at the following links:

If you didn’t see your county listed here, we encourage you to look up your emergency alert system by Googling your city name and the words “emergency alerts.”

More on the Sandy water crisis

The Reverse 9-1-1 system could have helped Sandy get out the word before it was too late, but it was only one in a long list of things that went wrong.

Today, Dave & Dujanovic sat down with Sandy City Deputy Mayor Evelyn Everton, Canyons School District’s Jeff Haney, Dr. Jared Richardson, and Division of Drinking Water Director Marie Owens to try to break down exactly what happened and what needs to be done to fix it in the future.

If you missed the show live on KSL Newsradio, you can still catch everything they said on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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