BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — During severe weather, getting updates can be the difference between life or death. Several counties across the state of Alabama use a program called Everbridge to provide emergency alerts to residents. Jefferson County is one of those counties.
On Monday, Jefferson County was in a tornado watch, and some residents ignored their emergency alert calls because they appeared as “spam” on their phones. The Emergency Management Agency is aware of the problem.
EMA Officer Chris Tate has reached out to cell phone providers Verizon, AT&T, and T-mobile about the issue.
“As these companies are improving their spam filters, as well as other applications people can download, sometimes we run into folks not receiving our messages, the phone calls,” Tate said. Up until now, none of the companies have replied to him.
CBS 42 reached out to AT&T corporate communications to find out if they were aware of the issue and if there was a way the county EMA could rectify it. AT&T requested contact information for Jefferson County EMA and called Tate Tuesday evening.
AT&T corporate communications told Tate the EMA phone number is not listed as a spam number through the cell phone provider. Tate believes their calls could appear as spam if residents have apps on their phones that screen their calls.
Tate said the simplest fix until the issue is resolved is to add the EMA phone number to your contacts.
“To add the phone number, 205-254-2505 to your contacts lists,” said Tate.
EMA will be reaching out to other cell service providers again and exploring other explanations as to why their calls are showing up as spam.
To sign up for Jefferson County emergency alerts, click here.