‘Alert DeKalb’ provides life-saving information
December 30, 2016
Southern Torch (3842 articles)

‘Alert DeKalb’ provides life-saving information

Signing up for ‘Alert DeKalb’ is easily done through the County EMA’s website. The system alerted those in the path of the storm during the recent tornado. 

By C. Campbell, Staff Writer


FORT PAYNE, Ala. — In times of emergency, having a reliable source informing us of imminent weather threats, gas line ruptures, or any other such disaster can make all the difference. This may mean huddling around a weather radio, watching James Spann take off his jacket and roll up his sleeves, or using social media to keep in touch with others who are able to relay vital information.

To help the citizens of DeKalb County in this regard, the DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency has created Alert DeKalb, which sends out messages regarding potential emergency situations, giving people plenty of time to react.

Anthony Clifton, the DeKalb County EMA Director, explained how relatively simple it is to use the Alert DeKalb system. According to Clifton, in order to opt into the system, all anyone has to do is go to the county’s website, http://www.dekalbcountyal.us, and click on the Alert DeKalb link at the bottom of the page.

When submitting information to build a profile on the database, the system will ask several questions, which are to help better customize one’s desired settings. Members of the public can choose up to five locations to receive alerts for, which can include home, school, work, and anywhere else deemed important. They can also pick how the system contacts them (any combination of text messages, phone calls, and e-mails), do-not-disturb hours, and even which alerts to receive.

Clifton mentioned how people have expressed the belief that this is solely for weather issues, but he emphasized that there is more to the Alert DeKalb system than just things like thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Users can also get messages for situations like hazardous material spills, gas pipeline ruptures, hostage situations, and escaped criminals. Even with all of these features and ability to do as much as it does, he explained that this should not become the sole outlet that people get their alert information from. “I don’t encourage people to depend only on one system,” he said. Alert DeKalb can be a useful tool, but so is a weather radio. Even social media can provide a positive place to get vital alerts from.

Despite all of the positive aspects to this system, Clifton mentioned that there have been issues with it in the past. Glitches and incorrectly entered code have caused some users to receive information about severe weather that was nowhere near, for example. However, a good many of these problems can be fixed with a simple call to the DeKalb County EMA office to make them aware of the situation. “If there are problems, we can fix them,” he explained.

While other locales have their own systems that work in very much the same way as Alert DeKalb, such as Jackson County’s Code Red, Clifton explained that it was the simplicity and user-friendliness of Alert DeKalb that made them choose that system over any other. In fact, he mentioned that the Alert DeKalb system is simple enough that a profile can be set up on a cell phone.

There may be times when getting alarms may be annoying or a nuisance, but there is no denying the fact that they are useful. Knowing when a massive thunderstorm is on the horizon or when other serious issues are breaking can make a serious difference.

While Clifton lamented that only a small number of people in DeKalb County have created their own profiles on the Alert DeKalb database, there is hope that other citizens will opt in and be able to get any necessary warnings.

The Alert DeKalb system is free to sign up for and fully customizable, so there is no real downside opting and and thus being alerted when a problem may arise.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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