Louisville touts new emergency notification system - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville touts new emergency notification system

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) –  More than five months after a deadly explosion triggered a communication breakdown, the city of Louisville is set to unveil a new emergency notification system as early as next month.

The city will pay a Florida firm $150,000 a year to notify people during emergencies by phone call, text, or email. It says after what happened at Carbide Industries in Rubbertown in March, it's money well spent.

An explosion at Carbide Industries left two dead, and caused mass confusion in Rubbertown. Residents had no idea if it was safe to go outside.  The lack of communication prompted a firestorm of criticism, and in turn a prompted a promise by the mayor to make changes.

"Obviously a lot of times there's something that is a catalyst for changes to happen, so I think that that was probably it," said mayor's spokesperson Lindsay English.             

After getting input from people at several public meetings, the city started listening to proposals from companies that specialize in emergency notification systems.  This week, it decided to go with the Emergency Communications Network's Code Red.

"We've got that type of reliability that's necessary for government to put their name on a product. You don't end up on the top of the industry in the technology field if you're not reliable," said company president David Digiacomo.

Digiacomo says Code Red is the largest system of its kind in the country. During Hurricane Irene, he says his company sent out more than two million emergency notifications up and down the East Coast.  Access to the system isn't cheap though.  It will cost Louisville $150,000 a year.

"If they can buy into our service and get the capacity and the type of firepower and reliability we're giving them at the fraction of the cost if they were have to build it themselves. It makes sense," said Digiacomo.           

People who sign up will be able to choose if they want to receive notifications by phone, email, text or all three. The company says that during a emergency like the one in Rubbertown, there's no such thing as too many options.

The city had hoped to have this already up and running by August. The launch date has now been pushed back to mid-October.

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