SPOKANE, Wash --- ‘CodeRED’ system lets people in the area know there is an emergency so they can potentially help first responders.

Emergency dispatchers issue alerts through the CodeRED app and alert system when a person is missing, or if there is a fire evacuation.

If you were near the Downriver Disc course Tuesday evening you could have seen it in use. When the call came in that a four-year-old boy was missing, emergency dispatchers sent first responders to the scene and activated their CodeRED alert system.

“I think it proved its value last night when we activated it to locate the four-year-old. We got a lot of input and feedback from the community. It increased everybody’s awareness and it happened within seconds,” said Spokane Fire Department Chief Brian Schaeffer.

A typical alert message will tell you what the incident is, the estimated timeline or the description of who emergency crews are looking for.

You can register for CodeRED alerts by downloading the free ‘CodeRED Mobile Alert’ app on your smart phone, or by signing up online.

Registering through ‘Alert Spokane’ is the same thing, so you do not have to register for both. You can receive alerts by text, email, twitter or app alert.

When you receive an alert, dispatchers said simply follow any directions in the notification.

“It puts you in a frame of mind where you’re looking for that missing person or you’re aware of the impending chlorine cloud that’s coming to you that you may not know about,” said Schaeffer.