City-Wide Alert System Should be Functional By Oct. 26

by Erica Peterson on October 10, 2011

The city-wide alert system to warn Louisville residents of emergencies should be functional in about two weeks. The Florida-based Emergency Communications Network is finished hooking the city into its nationwide network.

Metro Government began looking into the possibility of an alert system after an accident in the Rubbertown neighborhood released chemicals and killed two workers. Area residents didn’t know whether they should evacuate or stay where they were. The new system will alert people about accidents or weather emergencies in their neighborhoods—as long as they’ve signed up on the city’s website.

David DiGiacomo is the president of Emergency Communications Network.

“We try and make it very cookie cutter so we can have this consistency across the nation, and the reliability of course is going to be much higher when you’re maintaining a single-entity platform,” he said. “We have thousands of emergency jobs that are run through our system everyday, so Louisville will be another one of those jobs, running through the service.”

The system was originally intended to provide alerts about chemical releases, but now it does much more, including weather notifications. DiGiacomo says the technology uses home addresses, so it only sends alerts if to residents in the path of a storm.

“When you get the call from our Code Red weather warning system, it means there’s a very high likelihood that that storm, that tornado, that flash flood is going to affect your household, so it’s time to take action,” he said.

The system setup is complete, and DiGiacomo says Metro Government staff will be trained to use the technology in the next few weeks. He sayss the system should be entirely functional by October 26. The system will cost $150,000 a year for the first three years; after that, the contract will be renegotiated.

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