Ouachita parish takes initiative on an early alert system - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Ouachita parish takes initiative on an early alert system

Posted: Updated: Feb 4, 2013 08:41 PM

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - It's a hot topic. How can authorities alert more people faster about an approaching threat? ULM took the traditional route and installed an emergency siren and Ouachita parish was also looking at a siren system. However, that plan failed when the parish found out the rolling hills and thick trees would greatly affect the efficiency.

 Ouachita Parish Department of Homeland Security Director, Tracy Hilburn said, "it is meant for outdoors alone. It's not going to wake you up in your house and the majority of the parish is more rural and no where is it flat, it's a lot flatter on the eastern side of the river rather than the west side but we're no where near as flat as Kansas or Oklahoma an places like that."

The chosen system to replace the sirens proposal is called "Alert FM." It will give the parish the ability to quickly post alerts to Facebook, twitter, and the social site nixel. They can also send push notifications to your smart phone through the "Alert FM" app. If you don't have access to the internet, you'll have an option to buy a receiver from a local vendor.

"They're currently available at T. P. Outdoors in West Monroe and Monroe. They're the first vendors that got them last week." Said Hilburn.

Director Hilburn explained that this is not limited to Ouachita Parish. "It's not just Ouachita Parish friendly...it's Louisiana friendly. I was actually on the committee that was the purchasing committee for the state that purchased this item. We had two or three that put in proposals with us but this is by far the best item." 

As of now, all parishes in Louisiana are covered except for West and East Carroll but "Alert FM" says it hopes to get those parishes online soon.

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