DeKalb County EMA Working Out Bugs In Alert System

Northeast Alabama
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FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) -- The DeKalb County EMA is working out the bugs in its new alert system after the severe weather.

When the storms hit EMA director Anthony Clifton says the agency was fielding calls from concerned residents about the new alert system.

One major concern was some residents didn't get the alerts when the warnings went out.

But Clifton says residents will only get the alerts for the particular area they're signed up for.

"With that new system it only sets off if you're in the polygon drawn by the national weather service," Clifton says. "So we may have a tornado watch going on, but you might not get the warning."

Since the system has been implemented the agency has worked out some bugs.

Before, the system would send out an alert to residents, but the number wouldn't have a caller ID.

So as a result, in the middle of severe weather residents would call the number back.

The agency addressed the issue, or so they thought. "We put an answering service on that and the answering service, the caller ID came up as Washington State."

So when residents got the notification and saw an out-of-town ID, they just didn't answer it and as a result, didn't get the alert.

Another issue, a lot of the cell towers went down, so many residents couldn't use their phones.

The EMA is working to fix those problems.

Clifton says they've met with cell phone companies to ensure it will have a backup, they're working to clarify how the system works with residents, and they're working with the answering system to make it local.

Clifton says the next time severe weather hits, the bugs will be worked out, ensuring residents will know immediately when they need to be alert.

To sign up for Alert DeKalb follow this link.


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