BUFFALO, NY - Some City of Buffalo residents were more than a bit peeved at having received three or more robocalls from the city's CodeRED emergency notification system within 24 hours ... including one call at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
Their beef? They weren't being notified about emergencies at all.
The CodeRED telephone, text and email notification service recently went live. On Saturday morning, we started receiving complaints from people who say they received calls for non-emergency reasons.
In this case, it was alerts for today's city firefighter exam deadline and a series of fire prevention open houses.
Some people who reached out to us said they think the number is being abused and the city is taking advantage of having a database of residents that can be contacted at any time.
But after talking to city officials today it turns out there might be some misunderstandings about how the system works.
Here's what you need to know.
There are two parts to CodeRED: an emergency notification system for information about fires, chemical spills, natural or manmade disasters, and other public safety issues, plus a system for general community service announcements, such as open houses, street closures, and all the non-emergency information might want to know.
Here's the thing lots of people who signed up for the service didn't realize: you can opt out of the general notifications.
City Hall spokesman Mike DeGeorge told us, "The code-red system has two parts: an emergency notification system and a general notification system. If residents want to opt out of the general notifications they can, either by going to the city website or calling 311, depending on how they initially signed up. When residents sign up they are given the option if they want to receive the general notifications."
More information is available on the City of Buffalo website.