MEMA launches mobile app - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MEMA launches mobile app

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PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

During Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in 2005, more than 200 people died in Mississippi, and all 82 counties were declared disaster areas. Weather warnings went out, but technology wasn't what it is today.

No one had the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's weather app on their cell phone.

"If we've got a disaster going on, this is the most current stuff we've got going out," says MEMA Director Robert Latham.

On Wednesday, Latham got help from Governor Phil Bryant to officially announce the MEMA app, which has been available for a month now.

"We're going to encourage all Mississippians to download this free app on your phone," Governor Bryant says.

The app provides users with severe weather warnings, emergency contact phone numbers, tips on preparedness, and more. Latham says he hopes every Mississippian will download and use it, and become as prepared as the Pine Belt was when the EF-4 tornado hit in February. He says citizens there all received pertinent information.

"And then they did something. Went in a closet, interior room," Latham says. "If people do what we ask them to do, that's how we can save their life."

Cell phone customers in Mississippi will also now be receiving push text alerts on emergencies, tailored to their location. It's called the Wireless Emergency Alert system. It will include severe weather alerts, and also amber alerts put out by the Department of Public Safety, and Presidential alerts. The alert system will not be available on some older phones. Click here to find out if your device is WEA enabled.

You can opt out if you choose.

"We (encourage) people not to do that. If you're getting it, there's a reason you're getting it. There's a severe weather threat, and it's where you are," Latham says. 

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