From Galain President Rick Wimberly’s Blog “Alerts and Notifications: Best Practices For Emergency Notification Programs”
When major storms hit the Midwest Sunday morning, the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system sprang into action issuing mass notification cell phone text alerts from the National Weather Service. Eight people were killed, but media reports say many have expressed “shock” that the death toll wasn’t higher. The WEA messages to cell devices are being credited, along with early forecasting by the National Weather Service.
National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” aired a segment this morning (Tuesday) featuring a Methodist minister in Illinois telling the story of his congregation receiving the alerts during service. He said, “Suddenly, everybody’s cell phones started buzzing at the same time.” When the alerts were issued, the minister said he and other staff herded about 400 worshipers to a storm shelter room. They heard the locomotion sounding tornado pass over, destroying buildings only yards away. No one at the church was hurt. The pastor called the alert, “the saving grace”.