New smartphone app notifies users of severe weather

Published 11:48 am Friday, May 24, 2013

For those who want to receive severe weather alerts on their smartphones, there’s an app for that.

The Alabama SAF-T-Net application was unveiled last week, giving residents a convenient–and free–way to know when severe weather is threatening them or their homes.

Chilton County Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Collum said it’s beneficial for people to have another method of receiving alerts.

“It’s always good to build redundancy into your warning system,” Collum said. “Don’t rely on the warning sirens. You should have as many ways as you can to protect yourself and your family.”

The SAF-T-Net app features radar images and hour-by-hour forecasts, as well as sending notifications to users for up to four monitored locations.

By downloading the app, a user’s smartphone becomes one location. Then, users can set other locations, such as home and work addresses. Notifications would appear on the phone whenever any of the locations is in the path of severe weather.

“An app was the next logical step in the Alabama SAF-T-Net program,” said Bob Baron, president and CEO of Baron Services, which provides the service for the state. “The ‘Follow Me’ technology that allows a phone’s internal GPS to act as a monitored location is the ultimate in site-specific, location-based weather.

“It doesn’t matter if you are at the ball field, the movies, or a dance recital; if the smartphone in your pocket or purse has the Alabama SAF-T-Net app, you will receive push notifications when you are in the path of severe weather, giving you time to take action.”

Baron Services donated the Alabama SAF-T-Net program to the residents of the state of Alabama in early 2012 in response to a need identified by the Tornado Recovery Action Council (TRAC) for “a statewide, integrated severe weather alert system that provides more-precise alerts for individuals and businesses than current countywide warnings, allows individuals to enroll phone numbers, and takes advantage of smartphone technologies.”

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley commissioned the council to study and report on the events of April 27, 2011.

The free Alabama SAF-T-Net app is available through the Apple App Store for iPhones and Google Play Store for Android devices beginning May 21, 2013.

Residents who already use Alabama SAF-T-Net through text, email or voice call should visit the FAQ page on to deactivate that account after downloading the app. Deactivating the original account will prevent duplicate notifications.