Alert Iowa system let Cedar County know about gas leak - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Alert Iowa system let Cedar County know about gas leak

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CEDAR COUNTY (KWWL) - When a tractor hit a pipeline in Cedar County this week, it caused a gas leak and people had to evacuate their homes.

The Emergency Management Agency used the new Alert Iowa system to tell them.

"Immediately, I can go into their website and find out how many homes actually answered it, and by answered it, I mean pick up the machine, or a person answered it versus how many did not," said Tim Malott, Cedar County EMA Coordinator.

All Malott had to do was pick up his phone and tell the company who needed an alert and what it should say.

Alert Iowa is a statewide system that just launched last month -- and so far almost half of Iowa's counties are part of the network.

Jones County isn't a part of the system yet, but it's only a matter of time. It'll be the first time the county will be able to send out emergency alerts, because the state is paying for this new system.

"We have had a missing child before, we could have used it then," said Brenda Leonard, Jones County EMA Coordinator. "We had a pipeline breach a couple years ago, we could have used it. Just a lot of different incidents that were going on."

Counties can program land lines into the system automatically.

If your county's a part of Alert Iowa, you can get alerts on your cell phone or email, too. You just need to go to your county's EMA website to sign up.

For a map of participating counties, click herehttp://homelandsecurity.iowa.gov/about_HSEMD/alert_iowa.html

If your county was using a different system you may need to sign up for text and email alerts again.

Just because a county hasn't signed up for Alert Iowa doesn't mean people living there aren't getting alerts. Dubuque County, for example, is still using CodeRED.

Related stories:

http://www.kwwl.com/story/27358173/gas-leak-evacuees-get-caught-out-in-cold-in-cedar-county

http://www.kwwl.com/story/27348239/2014/11/10/ruptured-gas-line-forces-evacuations-near-west-branch
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