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System allows Fortuna PD to quickly communicate with public

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FORTUNA- Ninety-one year old Dorthy Nelson of Fortuna went missing for a few hours on Friday.  While the Fortuna Fire Department Rescue Team found her, the public was made aware of the search by a phone notification system.

The Code Red Phone Notification System has been in use at the Fortuna Police Department since 2008.

"Before we had the system we had no way to contact a large number of people in one area unless you went out there with a bullhorn or something like that," said Chief Dobberstein, the Chief of the Fortuna Police Department.

The first step of the Code Red system is police first pinpointing the area where they want to send the message.  They then record the message and send it out. They say that the process can sometimes take as little as five minutes.

"In several situations that I'm aware of over the last few years we have been successful with the public. They call up and say, ‘Hey, I just saw that person at this location just a few minutes ago,’ and we'll go out there and locate the person," Chief Dobberstein said.

It was used was Friday during the search for Nelson, who was lost for a few hours after leaving her house on Mill Street to take out the trash and not being found until hours later.  Neighbors, such as Gayle Rafferty, were contacted through the system about the search.

"It's just a really great way to have people be on the lookout for somebody that could be potentially in trouble," Rafferty said.

Authorities say the system can also be used during emergencies such as earthquakes and severe weather.  The recorded messages can be sent to the entire city or a specific area.  Keeping important information a phone call away. 

Code Red only recognizes landlines in Fortuna.  If you have a cell phone and wish to receive notifications, contact the Fortuna Police Department and be able to provide your cell phone number and address.  That number is 725-7550.