New Emergency Alerting System In Use

Sibley, Iowa — A new type of emergency alert service is being launched in northwest Iowa.
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Osceola County Emergency Manager Dan Bechler tells us it’s called “ALERT Iowa”.

He says there are actually two branches of the program. In the part that people can sign up for themselves — called “WENS,” or Wireless Emergency Notification System — they can get emails, text messages, and/or voice calls — whatever they would like.

He says you can choose when you want to be alerted as well, and by what notifications — so that you don’t have to wake up for an alert that you perceive doesn’t apply to you. Bechler says you don’t even have to be computer literate to get the alerts — he can help you get set up.

He says most of the time it will be used for weather warnings such as severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings. He says previously, the dispatcher had to type out and create emergency messages for the old Nixle system. He says now that’s done automatically, directly from the National Weather Service.

The other half of the system is called IPAWS, or Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. He says for those types of messages, they come to you whether you’ve signed up or not.

Bechler says the new system allows them to draw a circle around an affected area.

Bechler says not all counties are participating, but you can sign up for whatever counties you want.

Click here to sign up for Osceola alerts.

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