MnDOT launches emergency alert system similar to AMBER alert

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will start using a wireless emergency alert system that is similar the AMBER alert.

MnDOT officials say the alert system gives them the ability to send out alerts without people needing to download an app or subscribe to any services.

Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger says, “road closures can occur suddenly, especially in cases of severe weather or major crashes on the highway system. With WEA messages, MnDOT will be able to send immediate mobile alerts to people in the vicinity of a highway closure or detour – helping minimize motorists on roadways during winter conditions and aiding law enforcement and emergency personnel in responding to incidents quickly.” 

Officials mention that the Pennsylvania, Texas and Georgia state transportation departments also use wireless emergency alert system. They add there are a few local sheriff’s offices in Minnesota have used the system as well.

Along with the alerts, the MnDOT board says they will include a link to for more information and a simple description of the closure or incident. They add that the alert system will mainly be used for snow emergencies, ice, flooding or major classes or incidents.

This comes as the Minnesota Department of Transportation entered an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin using Wireless Emergency Alerts through the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System, FEMA’s national system for local alerting that shares emergency information to the public.