City renews emergency notification contract

Columbus has renewed a three-year agreement in a partnership with Bartholomew County to provide emergency alert notifications to local residents.

The city’s Board of Works on Wednesday approved a contract with Everbridge with the city agreeing to pay 59 percent of the $25,291.57 amount annually for the next three years, said Mary Ferdon, executive director of administration and community development for the city. The county will pay the remaining portion.

The contract, which takes effect Sept. 25, reflects a 5 percent increase compared to three years ago, Ferdon said. The city’s portion will be paid out of its general fund, she added.

The notification system alerts individuals who are signed up to receive information about severe weather, road closures, missing individuals and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods, according to Everbridge’s website. Individuals who are signed up to receive alerts can receive notifications by phone, text messages or email.

Julie Pierce, deputy director of the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center, said the National Weather Service automatically provides notification of tornado warnings, but said residents may choose to be notified of other weather-related incidents such as thunderstorms, blizzards and tornado watches if they sign up for the system. Local police and fire departments and area utilities also use Everbridge to notify residents about emergency situations.

Everbridge, which has been available since October 2012, has 5,927 individuals signed up within the city and county. Signing up is free.

How to sign up with Everbridge

To sign up for Everbridge, the Columbus/Bartholomew County alert system, go online and visit:

  • City of Columbus website at columbus.in.gov and click on “sign up for emergency alerts” under the quick links panel.
  • Bartholomew County website at bartholomew.in.gov and click on “citizen alerts.”

Users may choose to be notified on their home phone, cell, business phone, email, text messages and more.

Individuals with disabilities who need assistance can register by calling 812-379-1500 or emailing alert@bartholomew.in.gov.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com