ATLANTA — Georgia Emergency Management Agency officials say they had access to an alert system that could have warned drivers and others of an approaching winter storm on Jan. 28, but weren't able to use it.
GEMA spokesman Ken Davis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1f6LVFn ) GEMA had a mass alert system in place called the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System in place, but the technology hadn't been configured, tested or used for weather and traffic alerts.
IPAWS is a public-private partnership between cellphone carriers and federal agencies and about 200 local governments across the country have been approved to use the program. The state in 2012 was given federal approval to use the system — which would have sent a 90-charager message similar to an Amber alert — to cellphones within a geographic area.
"The governor has determined that a weather-related crisis rises to that level of urgency, so that's why we're expanding the use of this system," Brian Robinson, Gov. Nathan Deal's spokesman, told the newspaper.
Use of the program is part of the state's revised storm response protocols, which includes the formation of a task force assembled to help the state respond to approaching inclement weather.
Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com