The City of Bullard is considering adopting an emergency contact system.

BDA Consulting Group presented city officials with a web-based emergency alert system Wednesday that would allow the city to send a text message, email, or phone call to citizens in emergency situations.

Two applications of the system were presented to the city, one for emergency contact and one for weather alerts.  

City Manager Larry Morgan said he interviewed other cities with this type of system and most of them use Code Red including Tyler, Smith County, Chandler and Jacksonville.

“I feel pretty comfortable with suggesting this to the council because you have four cities within a stones’ throw of us that uses Code Red.”

Blake Stogner, a consultant for BDA said officials will have a lot of control over whom they contact and whom they do not. For example if a water main breaks, the city would be able to notify only those affected, and not the whole city. Officials will be able to designate which residents they contact by street, geography or radius.

Code Red receives phone information from the 911 registry and other sources, and the city would be able to add in any additional contact information it may have.

Stonger said a button may be added to the city’s website so residents can update their contact information for the system. They can add a cell phone number or an email address.

The emergency alert system could be used to warn of power outages, road closures, severe weather, as a way to inform the public about upcoming events and many other applications.

The cost proposal for the emergency system ranges from $3,675 to 4,225 per year, depending on which plan is chosen.

The basic plan would come with 7,500 minutes of use. Stogner said this would equal about 15,000 phone calls. If the city went over the allotted minutes, they would be charged 10 percent of the yearly cost and receive 10 percent more minutes.  

The most expensive plan includes unlimited calling to residents. If the city used a lot of minutes, they could opt to move to an unlimited minute plan for an extra charge.

The weather alert system would go through the National Weather Service. It would only contact a resident if they live within an area in a weather warning, and residents will have to sign up for the alerts.

The weather alert system is priced as an add-on to the emergency system. Code Red proposed a cost of $2,625 per year for the service.

Smith County already has the system in place. Bullard has the option of getting a password and sharing an account with Smith County, or creating its own. Stogner said each account can have up to five passwords, and in other counties, a different password has been given out to several cities within the county, but minutes are shared.

Morgan said he doesn’t want to be put in a situation where there are not enough minutes to go around or the county uses minutes purchased by Bullard.

“I’m leaning toward us having our own and being able to control what we do and when we do it,” Morgan said.

Morgan said the next step is to get a contract from Code Red and review it with the city attorney. Once it is reviewed, the he and the mayor will review the proposal and make sure this is the company they want to use. The final step is to take it to the city council for approval. Morgan said it could make it to the city council’s agenda in August or September.

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