SAN ANGELO, Texas — The San Angelo Fire Department announced that it will perform a test of the emergency alert system on Tuesday, February 25 at 10 a.m. The purpose of the test is to make sure all platforms are being reached and that there are no issues. The emergency alert system is used to warn the public of impending emergencies due to a severe storm or a tornado sighting in the area. Alerts will be sent out over landlines using reverse 9-1-1 and will also be posted on the San Angelo city Facebook and Twitter pages.
The primary use is for severe weather but the system can also alert citizens about an active shooter, wildfire or any other imminent danger. The warnings can also alert the public of instances that affect large numbers of citizens, such as a major water main break.
According to recent press release, “the criteria for sending alerts for severe weather remains the same: sustained winds of at least 58 mph, hail at least 1 inch in diameter, and/or a tornado warning.” Information about severe weather mainly comes from the National Weather Service. The criteria were established by agreement of the Tom Green County judge and San Angelo’s mayor and city manager, per NOAA recommendations.
The IPAWS alerts, which will not be tested on Feb. 25, are similar to Amber alerts received on cell phones. The IPAWS alerts are tested in a lab through the federal system. When activated by the SAFD, alerts will be sent to every cell phone within the area designated, whether a neighborhood or the entire county. No registration is needed to receive the warnings.
The decision to issue an alert remains with the SAFD’s on-duty battalion chief, the police or fire chief, the assistant fire chief for operations, the emergency management coordinator, or the city manager. We will follow up this article after the test with an update on how the system performed.
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