The next time a major emergency threatens Westport, residents can now turn to notices from their smartphones via the new CodeRED Mobile Alert app.

The app, a free download for iPhone and Android subscribers, allows users to receive alerts for local emergencies and missing children through notifications to their smartphones.

"It's something worth having if you're interested in knowing what's going on wherever you are, so you can be warned of any major event," Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar said. "It's another tool in the arsenal."

CodeRED Mobile Alert is made by Emergency Communications Network, the same company that created the CodeRED telephone emergency-notification system, which Westport has used to alert residents about emergencies for several years.

Capable of making up to 60,000 calls per hour, the CodeRED phone service can alert a section of Westport or even the entire town about events such as flooding, power outages, chemical spills, gas leaks, fires and evacuation notices. Town emergency officials used the CodeRED phone program frequently when Tropical Storm Irene struck Connecticut in August 2011.

The app is designed to complement the CodeRED phone notification program. CodeRED messages sent by phone by town emergency officials during Irene also would have gone to CodeRED Mobile Alert users, had the app existed then, Kepchar said. Residents signed up for CodeRED's phone and email notification services will still receive voice calls, text messages and email alerts.

The CodeRED app also includes a free 30-day trial of CodeRED weather warning, a program that sends users notifications when they are in the predicted path of a severe-weather event.

CodeRED Mobile Alert can be downloaded in the iTunes store or from Google Play. To download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app, visit http://ecnetwork.com/mobile/getitnow.html

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