BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — What woke you up overnight? Was it the storms, sirens or an alert from your phone?
If you’re asking yourself “What alert on your phone?” Well, you’re not alone.
Many Kansas City-area residents complained they didn’t get phone notifications they thought would warn them of severe weather and Wednesday’s tornados.
For example, in Blue Springs, some people are reporting they never received an Emergency Alert System notification. The city said the responsibility for EAS notifications falls on the National Weather Service.
But there are also a variety of reasons why you may or may not have gotten that alert. Issues may include not having a reliable cell signal or not having the emergency alerts enabled on your phone.
In Johnson County, sirens sounded across the entire county as a precaution, but the county’s emergency alert system only went to people in the precise tornado warning area.
But the situation adds to questions about Wednesday tornado warnings — weather events that weren’t automatically “radar-detected” but “observed” by seeing flying debris on radar.
Local governments are now encouraging sign-ups to region-specific alert systems including the Everbridge App, which is the framework for both AlertKC for Kansas City, Missouri, and Notify JoCo for Johnson County, Kansas.
Some alerts, like those for tornados, can be customized to come through even when a phone is silenced.
However, the built-in EAS alert system by default should blast through do-not-disturb settings.
Another important thing to check is your phone’s settings. Go into your phones setting and look at notifications. There should be a toggle for emergency alerts and sounds. If that toggle is off you won’t be warned, so make sure it’s on.