Text messaging now part of Lee County alert system

There's a new way some Lee County Iowa residents will be notified of an emergency or disaster.

It's an alert system called Delt Alert and it won't just go to normal phones in your home.

The alerts will also go to your e-mail and be sent via text messaging.

Many people have done away with their land based telephone and instead have opted for just carrying a cell phone. That's a personal choice, but when it comes to using a county wide mass notification system in Lee County to warm of severe weather or a mass disaster, that cell phone might not ring because the number isn't registered. So that's why Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl has upgraded the county alert system.

"Not only more minutes but that offered us additional features. Now you can receive an emergency notification by land line, cell phone, text message and e-mail message," Sholl said.

The old system had been in use for several years. But because more people are carrying smart phones, the sheriff wanted to upgrade the system with the improved technology. Now the notification system can do something county wide or pinpoint people living in a certain geographical area as to what notification message is being sent. And if you're carrying a cell phone. You don't have to be at home to get the message.

"I did receive a Code Red message alert when I was travelling in Missouri and it reached out and touched me. But you're right, with smart phones and the technology, no matter where you're at, it's going to connect your device and give you that warning.," Sholl said.

The sheriff also said for those people who want to get the alerts sent to them to their phone or e-mail in box, they should follow the link offered on the Lee County Iowa homepage and follow the prompts to get the correct contact information into the new system.

Sholl added the police chiefs in Keokuk and Fort Madison along with himself are the only people that can authorize the activation of the Delt Alert system.