Sign up for Johnson County Emergency Notification System

Johnson County has changed its high-speed telephone emergency notification service from CodeRED to the Johnson County Emergency Notification System (JCENS), part of the Alert Iowa System.

This notification system for mass public safety alerts is a free opt-in service for Johnson County residents. During an emergency, the system delivers mass voice, text, and email messages to registered phones and email addresses. The system allows dispatchers and emergency managers to notify the entire county or specific areas of an evacuation, lost or missing person, or other type of public safety threat.

The new system also sends alerts to email and text-capable cell subscribers for specific hazardous weather threats issued by the National Weather Service: Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, Tornado Warnings, Flash Flood Warnings, Ice Storm Warnings, and Blizzard Warnings. The system can provide desktop popup alerting for government buildings within Johnson County.

Who should sign up? 

Landline phone numbers previously subscribed to CodeRED have been moved into the new notification system. However, anyone with a cell phone number or email address who was previously subscribed to CodeRED must re-register their cell phone or email address with the new Johnson County Emergency Notification System. 

Subscribe to the Johnson County Emergency Notification System

About the change 

Effective July 1, 2013, the Joint Emergency Communications for Johnson County moved its reverse 911 contract from Emergency Communications Network, Inc. (CodeRED) to a system run by Inspiron Logistics (Wireless Emergency Notification System), locally known as the Johnson County Emergency Notification System (JCENS). The new system offers better pricing and more features than the previous system. Additionally, Cedar, Iowa, Linn, and Washington Counties will be utilizing the same system which will allow for regional resource and collaboration.

Learn more 

For additional information, contact Dave Wilson, Johnson County Emergency Management Agency Director, at 319-356-6700.

Weather alert system

The weather alert system is operated by the Johnson County Emergency Management office. Sirens within the city limits of Iowa City are maintained by the Iowa City Fire Department. The sirens are intended to give persons who are outdoors a warning of possible tornados or other severe weather. Upon hearing the sirens, individuals who are outdoors should seek cover. More specific information can then be acquired through local television or radio stations, or through weather alert radios. The Johnson County Emergency Management office strongly suggests that people equip their homes with a weather alert radio to have accurate information and an alert in the home.

What the outdoor weather alert system means to you

  1. A weather warning means that a tornado, straight line winds or other possible disastrous occurrence has been spotted and reported by radar, weather spotters, or other trained interpreters of weather behavior.
  2. The sirens are sounded on this report from the Johnson County Sheriff's Dispatch Center, according to standard operating procedures.
  3. All sirens in Johnson County are activated at the same time to ensure that an unplanned movement of any storm situation can be covered.
  4. An "all clear" signal is not transmitted, because of the possibility of more than one tornado entering into the county and a mistake that it is all clear. Another siren activation is an indication that there is an additional severe weather occurrence in the area.
  5. All sirens in Johnson County are tested at 10:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. After the testing the Johnson County Emergency Management office contacts individuals on a "call list" to confirm that the sirens are operating properly. In addition, any citizen may also call to confirm whether the siren performed as programmed or did not sound.
  6. In the case of the first Wednesday of a month being a holiday, the ICFD has a plan in which the department advertises over media systems that it will be held on the next Wednesday of the month.

One final reminder: It must be stressed that the outdoor sirens are just what the name implies: an "outdoor warning device."  Its primary purpose is to alert those who are outdoors to move indoors, at which point they can get more specific weather information through local television or radio stations, or through weather alert radios.

For more information, contact:

Johnson County Emergency Management

Dave Wilson, Coordinator
(319) 356-6700
4529 Melrose Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240

Weather alert siren locations


These are links to other federal and state agencies which provide useful information for emergency preparedness.