Louisville Metro Government has signed a contract with a company to provide an emergency alert system for the city. Talks have been underway for months since an explosion in the Rubbertown neighborhood left residents unsure of whether to flee or shelter in place.
The city signed a contract with Florida-based Emergency Communications Network last week, about two months later than officials had originally anticipated.
Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter says the Emergency Communications Network alert system was chosen over Ohio-based 21st Century Communications partly because the company already has an employee in Louisville.
“We thought both products were really good, they were very similar, we just thought that Code Red, they had a local presence, they had an employee in town already, even before this, so they have someone locally,” he said.
Mayor Greg Fischer originally budgeted $500,000 annually for the system. Poynter says it ended up being much cheaper—$150,000 a year for three years, at which point, the contract will be re-negotiated.
The alert system will cover the whole city and send out emergency and weather-related alerts by phone, text, email or through social networking sites. Poynter says the next step will be a PR campaign encouraging residents to sign up to receive alerts.
“You give your email address, your give your text, your cell phone number, and then you decide what you want, if you want to sign up for weather alerts, or alerts about Rubbertown, or a certain area of town,” he said.
He estimates the system should be functional in four to six weeks.