Rock Rapids, Iowa — Three of the four northwestern-most counties in Iowa are now live with the new statewide system that sends out emergency alerts, called “AlertIowa.”
Alert Iowa is a statewide mass notification and emergency messaging system. The system can be used by state and local authorities to quickly disseminate emergency information to residents in counties that utilize the system. The system is available, free of charge, to all counties. All but 11 of Iowa’s 99 counties have now signed up to use the Alert Iowa system.
Lyon County has now gone live with the service, according to Lyon County Emergency Management Agency Director Arden Kopischke.
He says it’s not just for cell phones.
AlertIowa officials say that messages may contain photo, video and audio attachments to help subscribers better understand the situation at hand, or where to find additional information.
Kopischke says if you have a new-enough phone, it will alert you to high-level alerts like tornado warnings even if you never signed up. That’s called the Wireless Emergency Alert.
He says most of the alerts come through the National Weather Service, but the county does have the option to alert people locally as well. In fact, they don’t have to notify the whole county. He says they can localize it just to a small area too.
He says he encourages everyone to sign up for it at http://entry.inspironlogistics.com/lyon_ia/wens.cfm He says that not only is it free to subscribe, it is also free to the county. He says the state government picks up the bill.
Osceola and O’Brien Counties are also part of the system, and you can sign up for their alerts too at
Sioux County uses an older system called “Nixle” and it is free to the user as well. You can sign up for that at