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North Alabama emergency management officials advocate for statewide notification system

As we keep an eye on possible severe weather at the start of next week. Emergency Management officials across Alabama are coming together to revamp their counties emergency notification system.

Posted: Dec 27, 2019 4:46 PM
Updated: Dec 27, 2019 5:51 PM

As we keep an eye on possible severe weather this weekend, emergency management officials across Alabama are coming together to revamp their counties' emergency notification systems.

Right now, it's up the individual counties to make their own system. Officials say the inconsistency can lead to slow alerts, so they want a statewide, cohesive system. The idea is to decrease the reliance on sirens and get you the information you need as quickly as possible.

Jackson County Emergency Management Director Paul Smith says his office often sees a problem with too much reliance on tornado sirens. That's part of why officials want an upgraded system.

"By the time they hear the siren, it's too late to make their emergency plan," said Smith.

Emergency management officials say the new system would streamline notifications when speed matters most. It would alert statewide with texts, calls and social media. It would also cost less.

"It's faster, you'll hear it because it's basically like having a siren on your hip," said Smith.

Right now Jackson County has an alert system for the public called "Code Red" that sends emergency alerts to your phone. Problem is, not all neighboring counties have it, it takes 10 percent of the emergency management budget each year and to opt in you have to call the E.M.A. office.

The system is already seeing support from lawmakers.

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