COPY-Emergency text message alerts available in Butler County - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

COPY-Emergency text message alerts available in Butler County

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Last year, MoDOT and Butler County thought they were ready for the ice storm.

"As prepared as you can be for as much ice that went down. That was just a very unique situation," said MoDOT engineer Lindell Huskey.

"When Mother Nature takes a notion to let you know who's in charge, she's going to let you know who's in charge and there's very little you can do about it," said Butler County EMS Director Rick Sliger.

Sliger used television and radio to warn folks about road closures and power outages, but because of the outages, people couldn't get the information.

So now, Sliger wants to put the information in the palm of your hand via a text message.

"With the advantages of a text message, we can send to everyone's phone, this is a tornado warning, this is a flood warning. Seek higher ground or take whatever action needs to be taken given that particular storm," he said.

Sliger developed butlercountymo.org, a web site designed to send out texts to people in affected areas of the county.

Users pick the area of the county the want alerts for, making it hyper-local to their area.

Sliger says the texts won't just warn people about emergencies, but also let them know where they can seek shelter or food.

"This gives us a tool that lets us disseminate that information and let them know where to get services which is something we never had before," he said.

Sliger is working with other agencies such as MoDOT to get the word out quickly if there are hazardous conditions on the roads.

After the lessons of last year's storm, MoDOT officials say they are more prepared than ever.

"Having gone through those situations in the past, you learn a few lessons. There might be some different equipment you might use earlier. But overall I think our people did a good job of taking care of a bad situation," Huskey said.

You can register for text alerts by visiting http://www.butlercountymo.org

Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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