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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore announced his support for a new emergency mass communication system, Jan. 16.
It's called CodeRED, a reverse 911 system that would notify residents of imminent threats to health and safety via phone, text message, email or social media.
"We lack an ability to effectively notify residents about emergency situations," Moore said. "This system will help us ensure that Jeffersonville residents are aware of immediate threats. It will create a direct link between our public safety officials and citizens."
For many Clark County neighbors, the memory of an EF4 tornado ripping through the heart of Henryville will never fade away.
"There's a lot of things that have made us more aware since the tragedy in Henryville," Moore said.
Moore says the system will cost about $30,000 a year, and the funding is already in place.
The system will use state of the art technology to communicate emergency messages to Jeffersonville residents who register to provide CodeRED with their contact information.
CodeRED will provide messages via text, a phone call, an email and a Facebook message to citizens who have registered with CodeRED who live within the areas of Jeffersonville that are affected. The reach of the CodeRED notifications can be as broad as the entire city, or as specific as a one-block area.
"The new system will give us a valuable tool to better communicate with the residents when facing emergency situations," said Moore, who is proposing the City Council fund the CodeRED from the Local Option Income Tax (LOIT) funds collected for public safety. "It seems having an adequate emergency notification system is an important step in protecting the public."
Jeffersonville will use the CodeRED system to notify citizens about emergencies such as:
Drinking water contamination
Evacuation notice and route
Fires or floods
Chemical spill or gas leak
Other emergency incidents where rapid and accurate notification is essential
Louisville rolled out CodeRED after the fatal Carbide Industries explosion three years ago.
"Jeffersonville is going to learn what Louisville had to learn, which is you don't know if it works until something happens," said Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott (D-1).
But after its implementation in Louisville, Rubbertown residents continued to complain after a lack of notifications during chemical leaks.
"People who wanted to sign up for all of the alerts were not being signed up for all of the alerts," Scott said. "It's almost like Metrosafe was filtering that for people and the other was making sure messages were going out in the radius that it needed to go out. So in the Rubbertown area, those alerts were not going out to a wide enough berth of people to be effective."
Another issue: Louisville residents just didn't sign up in bulk for the updates.
Despite possible red flags on CodeRED's implementation, Moore seems ready to act.
"For a minimal amount of cost, we can make the city of Jeffersonville immediately aware of a pending danger," Moore said.
Moore also is requesting the City Council establish a Department of Risk and Safety Management to work with employees, first responders, residents on public safety initiatives and oversee the CodeRED system. The city presently has a safety director, Amir Mousavi, within the Department of Human Resources.
Moore hopes the system can be installed this year -- preferably before the severe weather season begins.