Mayor Greg Fischer says a new alert system should be in place by mid-August to warn neighborhoods of industrial accidents, like the one last March in Rubbertown.
At the meeting last night, Fischer and his staff described the city’s requirements for a new alert system, to avoid the confusion that followed the explosion at Carbide Industries’ chemical plant in March. The new system will include a hotline, automatic blasts to cell phones, email addresses and pagers and 24/7 functionality.
But some Rubbertown residents still had concerns. Eboni Cochran is a member of Rubbertown Emergency ACTion, an activist group.
“These four systems that are remaining, do any of them have voice instruction?” she asked. “Because one of my concerns is when people hear an alarm, they’re really not going to know what to do. They would have to go to a secondary source.”
Emergency Management director Doug Hamilton told her, no, the sirens will not issue voice commands.
Others were disappointed they hadn’t had any input in evaluating the alert systems. In response to complaints, Fischer said he’ll ask the bidders to demonstrate their systems for neighborhood residents.
“We’ll need to schedule some type of public demonstration of the technology or something and invite you all to that, so you can come in and give us some feedback on the actual product,” he said.
Fischer’s proposed budget includes a $500,000 line item to pay for the emergency system. He says once the contract is signed, the system should be functional within a month and a half.