When Should You Get a Civil Emergency Alert?

Mar 24, 2017

Just after 7:00 p.m. central time on Monday, a civil emergency alert went out to cell phone users in parts of Eastern and Central Iowa. That message went out by mistake. During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with John Benson, spokesperson for Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. 

“There was a missing person in Johnson County, and earlier in the day, there were some messages that went out via a system called Alert Iowa. But, at 7:00, they decided to utilize another alert system, which is part of FEMA’s alert system,” says Benson. 

According to Benson, there are around 40 different emergency alerts that can be sent out via those systems. A civil emergency alert is probably the least utilized of those alerts and could be used when there is an emergency like a hazardous materials spill, or a domestic situation putting people at risk.

During this hour of River to River, we also hear from Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell with an update on what’s happening at the statehouse; the Des Moines Register’s Jason Noble; Dr. Mary Charlton who worked on the most recent Cancer in Iowa study; and Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer.