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Cellphone alerts may replace Wisconsin tornado sirens

MADISON, Wis. — Tornado sirens around the state could one day be replaced by cellphone warnings, a technology that’s cheaper and potentially more reliable.

A Post-Crescent of Appleton report (http://post.cr/13qyhsQ ) says cellphone alerts are already being used, but in conjunction with tornado sirens.

Emergency officials in a number of counties say there’s value to having multiple warning systems. However, sirens can be costly to maintain and repair, and they’re not always audible to people indoors.

Wisconsin Emergency Management spokesman Tod Pritchard says when a tornado warning is issued in a certain county, a free alert is issued to all the cellphones within range of the cell towers in that county.

The alerts don’t work on older cellphones. Residents can contact their wireless providers to see if their phones work with the new system.



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