In a rapidly developing event, there may not be time to issue an evacuation warning. When in doubt, GET OUT!

Jefferson County issues two types of public messaging via the CodeRED system:

  • Advisory messages provide information but do not require any action on your part.
  • Instructions provide information and require you to take some action to be safe.

CodeRED is Jefferson County’s reverse 911 system. It automatically includes the traditional landline if you have one at your residence. Specific information about including other numbers can be found in the Emergency Preparedness section of this website. Sign up for CodeRed Alerts.

There are three standard instructions you may receive:

Shelter in Place

  • There is a hazard in your area and you should remain or go indoors, not go outdoors, and not evacuate the area. This may be the safest strategy for hazardous materials, law enforcement, or other incidents wherein an evacuation could actually increase the danger to you.


  • There is a hazard in your area that may require you to evacuate in the near future. Everyone should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. If you feel you are in danger and want to leave, do so. If you need additional time to evacuate, you should consider leaving now. If you need to arrange for transportation assistance, you should do so immediately.  
  • Be sure your 72-hour emergency kit is ready to go. Consider collecting other items you want to take with you should you be ordered to evacuate and load them into your car.
  • Review your emergency evacuation plan and be sure everyone residing in your home is familiar with it. Park your cars facing toward the street with keys in the ignition (if it’s safe to do so).
  • If the hazard is wildfire, review the list of things to do to protect your home from wildfire threat. If you have time, there are things you can do to prepare your house.


  • There is a hazard in your area and you have been ordered to evacuate immediately. If you need assistance evacuating call 911. You will be provided the safest escape routes known, so make sure you follow the instructions as other routes may be closed or unpassable. You will also be told the location of an evacuation point where you can get updated information about the emergency and the location of an evacuation shelter if you have nowhere else to go. Do not delay – evacuation means you need to leave immediately! You should not expect that emergency personnel will rescue you if you ignore the evacuation notice.
  • The CodeRED alert is geographically targeted. If possible, Jefferson County Sheriff personnel will also knock on doors in the evacuation zone. If you think your home should be included, but you didn’t get an alert, err on the side of safety and evacuate. 
  • If you are not at home when an evacuation order has been issued, you will not be allowed access to you home until the evacuation order has been lifted.

*In the event of an evacuation, Jefferson County sheriffs will direct you about the routes to use. DO NOT choose your own evacuation route – you have no way of knowing if you are putting yourself at greater risk.