LIMA — Available now, anyone with a SmartPhone, cell phone, email or a phone number can get an instant emergency alert to warn of tornadoes, severe weather, bad traffic crashes, chemical spills or anything that could affect their daily life.
Allen County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Tom Berger announced the ALERT Allen County system Friday. Citizens may sign up through the EMA website at www.allen-ema.com.
“This is another way to reach our residents,” Berger said.
People will be asked to enter their name, address, phone number and email, he said.
Alerts will be instant with short messages to alert people. The system also can be specific to an area such as if there is a water boil alert in Bluffton, for example, warning people only in that area, he said.
“We are not going to alert Spencerville folks for an issue in Bluffton,” he said.
People have the option of signing up for various types of alerts such as only a tornado warning to numerous others such as water boiling needed to severe weather to a chemical spill, Berger said.
The system will not replace current methods such as warning sirens or going through traditional media to make announcements, Berger said.
“Warning sirens are staying intact. This is another layer,” Berger said.
In event of an act of nature that causes a shelter to open up, for example, the EMA can immediately tell people where the closest shelter will be.
People who do not have access to the Internet or who want to receive messages by phone or who need help signing up may call 419-993-1404.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.