YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN)- The Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency is launching a brand new alert system.
The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, known as IPAWS, will be used to alert people within Mahoning County if there is an emergency situation.
You don’t have to download anything, it is a system already in your phone’s settings and most likely it is on.
Mahoning EMA Deputy Director Robin Lees says it is best practice to keep the settings for alerts on at all times.
“There is a place on your phone under settings where you can take the alert off, but I would recommend against that. We’re not going to be sending you out warnings as a rule. It’s going to be a severe emergency if it comes out,” said Lees.
Even if you are not a Mahoning County resident, if you are in the county and there’s an emergency, you too will be alerted as long as the settings are not turned off.
Right now, the tornado sirens are a primary way of knowing when dangerous weather is around. However, last summer some of the sirens failed.
Lees assured the sirens are not going anywhere.
“We will have the IPAWS, as well as the sirens will still be in service. Originally we thought we might be able to save some money by starting to dismantle the siren system, but the feedback we got from the community, as well as the county commissioners, was to keep the sirens up and running,” Lees explained.
At 9:50 a.m. Monday, there was a statewide tornado drill. Mahoning EMA will also test IPAWS at this time.