The March 29 FISC fire may have sparked one positive development: It appears to have pushed the city to replace its antiquated emergency notification system.
The council is slated to get an update tonight on the CodeRED Emergency Notification System city staff hopes to purchase in the next month or two, and while there’s no staff report online yet, I got the details from the city’s risk manager, Darrell Handy, when we I e-mailed him some questions about the city’s fire response a few weeks ago. Here’s what he said:
The City is working with a vendor who can provide a new high-speed emergency notification system for outbound telephone notification. The system provides a way for communities to rapidly call all or a portion of a community for emergency notifications. It requires no additional servers or phone lines and can send email messages and text messages to PDAs, computers, pagers, cell phones, etc. The system is internet-based and is capable of delivering 60,000 messages per hour.
As I reported last week. the city’s current CityWatch system – which relies on four phone lines that each take two minutes to make a call – could take days to tell us what to do in an emergency.
Handy said the city’s been quoted a price of $22,500 a year for 87,500 minutes of time – the equivalent of 175,000 30-second messages – and unlimited text and e-mail capabilities. (I wonder if we get rollover minutes?) He said the city hopes to have the new system in place in the next month or two. (Hopefully we won’t have a major disaster before then.)
In other fire news, a city-hired contractor has been working to clean up the fire debris in preparation for demolition of the former Naval medical records building. The city also installed new fencing around the site, which apparently was a popular hangout for kids, and they’ve had a security guard posted there 24/7. (No news yet on the cause of the fire.)