Alexandria launches emergency prep website: ‘Cenla Ready’

(Source: Cenla Ready Website)
Published: Jun. 9, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 4:37 PM CDT
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The following was released by the City of Alexandria:

ALEXANDRIA, La. - The City of Alexandria is launching a new emergency preparedness site called Cenla Ready that includes emergency notifications for local residents. The site can be accessed here.

“We are very excited about the new Cenla Ready site, especially the ability we now have to send targeted alerts to local residents,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall. “Residents can sign up to get a variety of weather alerts. And while those are available from other sources, by registering their address, Cenla Ready users can also receive geo-targeted notifications, such as boil advisories, street closures, utility notices and other messages relevant to their specific location.”

Cenla Ready will be the city’s primary emergency website during hurricanes and other severe weather or emergency events. In addition to providing news and updates during local emergencies, the site is filled with content designed to help local residents plan and prepare for local emergencies including severe weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes, flooding, home fires and power outages. Tips are also provided for a variety of other emergency situations such as active shooters, cyber-attacks and incidents involving hazardous materials.

“The ability for residents to subscribe to receive geo-targeted alerts is what really makes Cenla Ready so unique,” explained Special Projects Coordinator Jim Smilie. “We are using the Everbridge platform, which is used by major cities across the country to provide targeted notifications. We can easily create a customized message and send it to all registered users in an area simply by highlighting that area on a map. And registered users can choose how they want to be notified – by text message, email, telephone call or through a digital app. And they can choose multiple options. If the text doesn’t go through, we’ll email. If that isn’t received, the system can call them. And users can opt out at any time as well. It is an extremely flexible and powerful tool.”

The Everbridge system will also be used to send non-emergency notifications. “In addition to emergency notifications, we can create alerts for a variety of local special interests,” Smilie said. “For example, ATRANS users can opt in to receive alerts about route updates. We can create custom notifications for special events, such as Alex WinterFête to alert residents and visitors about festival activities.”

While Cenla Ready will be the primary site, Smilie said information will continue to be posted on the city website and social media pages as well during emergencies.

“We encourage everyone to sign up and register to receive alerts and bookmark the page,” Smilie said. “With emergencies, we want to share information as many ways as possible, so while Cenla Ready will be the host site, we’ll have links to the information on the main website and on all of our social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”

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