DEKALB CO., Ala. (WHNT) -- The storms that hit the Tennessee Valley Thursday night gave DeKalb County EMA officials a chance to see how the county's new alert system works.
Residents who are signed up for Alert DeKalb got multiple notifications about severe weather threats Thursday night.
Alert DeKalb is an emergency notification system. Residents sign up for it online or through the EMA.
Alert DeKalb replaced the county's old system because officials say it has a wider range of uses for EMA officials and is more user-friendly for residents.
EMA Director Anthony Clifton says Thursday night was the first time Alert DeKalb has been put to use."We know that it works, we had a number of people call us to confirm that the messages did go out when they were supposed to," Clifton says.
Because the system is so new the EMA is finding ways to improve it.
The notifications come in the form of a text message or email, but they also come in the form of a phone call. The problem is, that phone number isn't named, so a lot of people were calling that number back in the middle of the night to find out who had called them.
Clifton says Thursday night they were fielding multiple calls from people who hadn't picked up the call from the system in time, and were wondering who they had a missed call from.
That issue is the main one Clifton says they found, and they have a solution. "Probably what we're going to wind up doing is having a special number that will pop up into the caller ID," Clifton says.
Overall Clifton says they're pleased with the way the new system worked and are confident that during severe weather they'll be able to notify DeKalb residents without glitches.
To sign up for the free notification system follow this link to the county's website. You can also visit the EMA's Facebook page, or call them at (256) 845-8569.
If you are a DeKalb County resident and are signed up for the system and want to change how you get notified you can do so at the Alert DeKalb website by signing on to your profile.