New citywide emergency alert system unveiled - News, Weather & Sports

New citywide emergency alert system unveiled

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Octavia Johnson Octavia Johnson
Mayor Greg Fischer announcing the Code Red program Mayor Greg Fischer announcing the Code Red program

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After a deadly explosion at Carbide Industries that killed two people earlier this year, Louisville's mayor said he wanted a better and faster way to notify citizens about dangerous issues. Monday, a new citywide emergency alert system called "Code Red" was unveiled that is designed to warn residents in several ways about potentially dangers to life or health.

Code Red is welcome news to residents like Octavia Johnson, a Rubbertown resident for almost two years. Johnson remembers that day in March when an explosion rocked Carbide Industries, killing two people.

"It was this horrible smell," said Johnson. "I mean, it was so strong. I was like I came in, closed my windows and had my doors shut, because it was just terrible."

But Johnson said she heard about it via word of mouth.

"I don't know if they had gotten an alert or heard about it on the news."

"During that emergency, it became obvious to me that city government did not have a quick, efficient way to alert residents of a potential danger," said Mayor Greg Fischer.

Emergency Communications Networks wont the $150,000 a year, three year city contract in a bidding process involving nine companies.

"The system is extraordinarily flexible," said Fischer. "It can cover the entire city, it can cover just a street, a block, a neighborhood. Whatever the notification area is that we need to notify."

According to a press release from Metro Government, the system will have three types of alerts:

  • Emergency notification. These are the highest and most urgent of alerts in which there is immediate danger to life and health. An example of an emergency alert would be a chlorine leak from a rail car. All phone numbers in city databases will receive phone calls, texts or emails when there is an emergency, regardless of if citizens have signed up with Code Red.
  • General notifications. These are alerts to help warn the public of potential dangers. The Carbide incident would have fallen into this category because citizens near the plant were not in immediate danger. Citizens must sign up to receive these alerts.
  • Severe weather notifications. These are to warn citizens about tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash flooding and other weather bulletins. These alerts are sent directly from the National Weather Service, allowing citizens to be alerted about danger at the same time as the weather service alerts MetroSafe. Citizens must sign up to receive these alerts.

"I think it's good," said Johnson. "That they'll give an alert and everything. Letting you know in advance that it's going to happen. If it's for the best, you know. Anything that's for the best of the people, then, yes. I'll sign up for it."

If you don't have internet access at home, you can go to public libraries to sign up for Code Red or call MetroCall every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by dialing 311. A city employee can take your information and enter it into the system.

If you want to sign up for the Code Red alerts, go to the Metro Government's website,, and fill out the form. While signing up you can choose which types of alerts and which delivery methods you want to receive.

Fischer encouraged people to especially sign up for text alerts since they are quick and many residents have their cell phones with them.

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