HELENA – The Lewis and Clark County 911 Center say initial reports indicate the planned Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) test was a big success on Wednesday, April 10.
The alert went out at 11:00 a.m. and targeted only mobile devices in Lewis and Clark County.
911 Center Manager Peter Callahan told MTN he was impressed with the test alert and how fast it appeared to make it to devices.
“Right now having this tool is rather empowering. We can reach out and touch base with our community very quickly,” said Callahan.
WEA is a tool the County can use to inform the public about emergency situations such as wildland fires or severe weather. The technology uses cell phone towers to broadcast the alert to devices within range for a specified amount of time.
Callahan said so far the feedback they’ve received is a good indication of the system working, but ask people to take a couple minutes to complete a quick anonymous survey.
Participation in the survey helps them better understand who received the message and identify any troubles.
“Collecting the data is important,” said Callahan, “We want to know if we have a good tool at our disposal here at public safety to alert the public. If the tool is ineffective and we find the majority of people did not get the alert, that’s very important to us.”
The 911 Center still plans on using the RAVE alert system for most non-severe notifications to people in Lewis and Clark County.
Individuals are encouraged to sign-up for Rave alert here.
Lewis and Clark County received a FCC waiver to conduct Wednesday’s mass notification test.