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Weather Warnings on the go! 

Imagine this: You’re driving down the highway, humming along to your favorite tunes, when the cell phone stowed in your bag suddenly makes a strange noise. To investigate, you take the next exit and safely pull over to check the screen. Good thing you did: Your phone just alerted you to a tornado a few miles away in same county you’re driving through.

Sound plausible? It is. This year, America’s wireless industry is helping to build a Weather-Ready Nation by rolling out a new nationwide text emergency alert system, called Wireless Emergency Alerts, which will warn you when weather threatens. Read the rest of the article on 

What are WEA messages?  Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service.

Why is this important to me?  Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA, alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm's way, without need to download an app or subscribe to a service.

What types of alerts will I receive?  Extreme weather warnings, Local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, AMBER Alerts and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.

 What does a WEA message look like?  WEA will look like a text message. The WEA message will show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters.

How will I know the difference between WEA and a regular text message?  WEA messages include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice.

What types of WEA messages will the National Weather Service send? Tsunami Warnings, Tornado and Flash Flood Warnings, Hurricane, Typhoon, Dust Storm and Extreme Wind Warnings, Blizzard and Ice Storm Warnings.

 What should I do when I receive a WEA message?  Follow any action advised by the emergency message. Seek more details from local media or authorities.

Will I receive a WEA message if I'm visiting an area where I don't live, or outside the area where my phone is registered?  Yes, if you have a WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program. For information about which mobile devices are WEA-capable and carrier participation, please visit or contact your wireless carrier.

What if I travel into a threat area after a WEA message is already sent?  If you travel into a threat area after an alert is first sent, your WEA-capable device will receive the message when you enter the area.

When will I start receiving WEA messages?  It depends. The National Weather Service began pushing alert messages to the WEA service on June 28, 2012, but many mobile devices, especially older ones, are not WEA-capable. When you buy a new mobile device, it probably will be able to receive WEA messages. For information about which mobile devices are WEA-capable, please visit or contact your wireless carrier.

Is this the same service public safety agencies have asked the public to register for?  No, but they are complementary. Local agencies may have asked you to sign up to receive telephone calls, text messages, or emails. Those messages often include specific details about a critical event. WEA are very short messages designed to get your attention in an emergency situation. They may not give all the details you receive from other notification services.

Will I be charged for receiving WEA messages?  No. This service is offered for free by wireless carriers. WEA messages will not count towards texting limits on your wireless plan.

Does WEA know where I am? Is it tracking me?  No. Just like emergency weather alerts you see on local TV, WEA are broadcast from area cell towers to mobile devices in the area. Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message, just like every TV shows the emergency weather alert if it is turned on. TV stations, like WEA, don't know exactly who is tuned in.

Will a WEA message interrupt my phone conversations?  No, the alert will be delayed until you finish your call.

How often will I receive WEA messages?  You may receive frequent WEA messages during an emergency. Message frequency depends on the number of imminent threats to life or property in your area.

If, during an emergency, I can't make or receive calls or text messages due to network congestion, will I still be able to receive a WEA message?  Yes, WEA messages are not affected by network congestion.

What if I don't want to receive WEA messages?  You can opt-out of receiving WEA messages for imminent threats and AMBER alerts, but not for Presidential messages. To opt out, please refer to instructions from your wireless carrier or visit for more information.

The NWS issues warnings for smaller areas - called polygons. Will my cell phone receive the tornado warning alert if my location is outside of this polygon?  Your cell phone will pick up the tornado warning alert since it was issued for a part of the county you are located in (only county code is used - all or nothing). The current (2012) software program isn't capable of narrowing down the alert for just those cell phones located within the polygon warning.

How will I receive alerts if I don't have a WEA-capable device?  WEA is one of many ways you can receive emergency notifications. Other sources include NOAA Weather Radio, news media coverage, the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV broadcasts, social media, and other alerting methods offered by local and state public safety agencies. Your best use of WEA is to immediately seek additional information about the imminent threat impacting your area.

Madison County Code Red

Madison County has instituted the “Code Red” Emergency Notification System throughout the County.  This system allows Emergency Management Personnel to telephone all or targeted areas of the County in case of emergencies that require immediate action such as evacuation notices.

When signing up for “Code Red”, you will have the option to receive weather warnings (NOT weather watches) so you won’t be getting calls every time it rains.  However, if you have signed up to receive warnings and you are in the path of the storm, you will receive a telephone call warning you of the danger.

If you are not sure that you are included in the County’s database, simply log onto Madison County Emergency Management Agency website at: and follow the link to “Code Red”. 

We recommend that all businesses register, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone numbers or addresses within the past year, and those who use a cellular phone or Voice over Internet phone as their primary number.

You will need to know your telephone service provider to sign up for “Code Red”. 

Anyone without internet access may call the Madison County EMA office at 618-692-0537 Monday through Friday (8:30-4:30) to register to receive “Code Red” warnings.


Safe and Well:  After a disaster, letting others know that you are safe and well can bring your loved ones great peace of mind.  It also helps free up phone lines for emergency and other use.

The American Red Cross has created a website designed to make that communication easier.

By clicking on the link; you can register yourself as "Safe and Well" or family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as "Safe and Well" by clicking on the "Search Registrants" button.  The results of a successful search will display a loved one's first and last name and a brief message. 

 Weather Preparedness Week is February 27 to March 4, 2012. Please read more below under the heading Severe Weather Preparedness.

Spring flooding could be just around the corner. Be prepared. You can follow the National Weather Service's Spring Flood Outlook on the web at: Spring Flood Outlook. No flooding is expected in the Granite City area. However, don't become complacent. As always, those living behind a levee should be prepared to evacuate to higher ground at a moments notice. Also, make sure you have checked your sump pump, installed a one-way-valve or other back-flow prevention device, purchased flood insurance and made evacuation plans. Read more below under the heading Disaster Preparedness or through the link above.

Sign Up For Community Alerts: Granite City is now using Nixle for community messages. Please visit to register for these alerts.

Winter Survival Kit For Auto: Blankets, Warm Clothes, Knife, First-Aid Kit, Booster Cables, Shovel, Flashlight, Food Bars, Matches or Lighter and a Metal Cup (to melt snow for drinking), Ice Scraper, Sand or Cat Litter.

Winter Survival Kit For Home: Battery Powered Radio, First-Aid Kit, Flashlight, Extra Batteries, Shovel, Ice Melt, No-cooking Required Foods, Extra Meds, Matches or Lighter and Know How To Drain Water Pipes.

Health Alert: Good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat the flu. Preventing the flu is a better option.  The CDC recommends vaccinations for everyone 6 months and older.  Protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated every year.

1. Avoid Close Contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay Home When You Are Sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, public gatherings, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with Swine flu, you should consider keeping the entire family at home until the illness has passed (7 to 10 days following the onset of the last person's symptoms).

3. Cover Your Mouth & Nose
Cover your mouth & nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent others from getting sick.

4.Clean Your Hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

5. Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose or Mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Practice Other Good Health Habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

7. If You Have a Fever
A high fever (100.5 degrees or higher) along with the normal signs and symptoms of any flu may be a sign of Swine Flu and should be taken seriously. Contact your physician and take other precautions as listed above.

8. If you Are Not Sick, Don't Go To The Emergency Room
Going to the doctor or emergency room before you are sick will not prevent you from getting sick and may cause delays in treating those who are.

9. For Further Information, Go to these Websites
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Flu Homepage

Support Networks: Having a personal support network can help everyone survive a disaster. This is especially true for the elderly, disabled and those with special needs. Create a network of trusted individuals, such as family, friends, co-workers, personal attendants, etc. who can assist you during an emergency. Set up this network at important locations (e.g. home, work, school) making sure you have at least three people at each place. These individuals should take part in your planning and be familiar with your functional abilities and limitations. Establishing a solid relationship with other people is one of the most effective means of surviving a disaster.

Utility Outages Know how to contact your electric and gas provider. Ameren provides two web sites that are useful in everyday and emergency situations. Please visit and familiarize yourself with these sites and make note of appropriate phone numbers.

Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois Outage Page

Call 811 Before You DigWhether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional, smart digging means calling 811 before each job. Homeowners often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call - even small projects like planting trees and shrubs. The depth of utility lines varies and there may be multiple utility lines in a common area. Digging without calling can disrupt service, harm you and those around you, and potentially result in fines and repair cost. Calling 811 before you dig , gets your underground utility lines marked for free and helps prevent undesired consequences.

Radon Hotline 1.800.325.1245

    • Information about radon results from statewide tests.
   • Lists of licensed professionals who will measure and / or mitigate radon.
   • Free home test kits available.
   • Web address: 

Severe Weather Preparedness: There are a number of severe weather hazards that affect our region, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning, floods and flash floods, damaging winds and large hail. Severe weather hazards have the potential to cause property damage, injury or death.

The City tests its Emergency Warning System at 10 am on the first Tuesday of each month (with exceptions, like some holidays and threatening weather). Please take this opportunity to consider what you would do if one of these tests were not a test but an actual occurrence. Are you truly prepared to deal with a tornado that strikes your home, place of business or where your kids go to school?

Please refer to this web site (Disaster Preparedness) or, the Illinois web site at to view the Severe Weather Preparedness Guide booklet. There is an emergency supply list at the back of the booklet that can serve as a handy guide in preparing for possible severe weather. You can also find a Family Disaster Kit on the Disaster Preparedness page of this site.

Emergency Shelter: The Granite City Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross have designated the Granite City Township Building located at 2060 Delmar Ave. Granite City, IL. 62040 as an emergency shelter. The Township building also serves as one of the city’s heating and cooling centers. Designation as an emergency shelter means that the American Red Cross will be responsible for operating the shelter (once opened) during a disaster or other situation requiring its activation as a shelter.

Township Supervisor Bob Shipley has offered to provide emergency transportation within the township for those “special needs” persons who cannot otherwise get to the shelter without help. The township and other members of the Mayor's Emergency Response Committee (MERC) will attempt to inform and check on the welfare of those “special needs” persons who have registered with the committee.

Registration is for people with special needs such as the blind, the deaf, those on oxygen or dialysis, persons who are confined to a wheelchair or have no other transportation or for those who require special notification of an imminent disaster or special instructions.

We ask that relatives, friends and neighbors of  special needs persons check on their welfare frequently during emergency or stressful times.

To register with the committee, please complete the “Disaster Response Emergency Contact Information Form”. The form is available at the Township Supervisors Office at 2060 Delmar, the Granite City Emergency Management Agency Office at City Hall, 2000 Edison Ave. or by downloading it from the bottom of this page.

Disaster Response Emergency Contact Form