Ruston moving to CodeRed emergency alert system

Ruston moving away from inclement weather sirens, using CodeRed alert system.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 7:15 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The City of Ruston has decided to move away from inclement weather sirens and is urging residents to sign up for emergency alerts through the Code Red system. Mayor Ronny Walker says this system will be more efficient.

“Code Red is designed for getting the word out to people about a multitude of different issues that might be happening,” Walker says.

Walker says the decision to change systems came after evaluating their current siren system, which is outdated. Chris Webb, the Media and Communications Coordinator for the City of Ruston says all you need is an internet connection to sign up for alerts.

“Not only are you getting the weather alerts, which were already being sent out, but it’s an easier platform to get those to you. And you’re getting more information for specific city stuff like road closures near you, boil advisories, or like power outages,” Webb says.

Walker says they hope this will eliminate some human error and help deliver alerts quicker.

“You take the human error part of it out, you know somebody is supposed to turn the siren on, but what if they were distracted with something and doing something else,” Walker says.

Though alerts are sent out automatically by the National Weather Service, some residents are concerned about adapting to the technology.

Margaret Sutherland, a resident of Ruston, says she’s concerned for the older generation.

“It’s just the technology, it’s not for everybody, especially the younger people can handle it probably, but the older generation they’re gonna have some problems,” Sutherland says.

Walker says the city has tutorials on their social media for those that need help signing up.

“If somebody does not have a cell phone or some way to receive it, if they call our office, there’s lots of programs out there where you can get free phones and we will see to it that we can assist them in getting a phone to ensure they can receive the warnings,” Walker says.

Walker says they plan to spend the coming months informing residents about the new system in hopes it will ease the transition. He expects Code Red to be the primary emergency alert system in six months.