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Ashwaubenon shooting: Why some didn't get emergency alerts, how Brown Co. residents can fix it

Posted at 6:20 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 19:26:00-04

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (NBC 26) — When gunshots rang out in an Ashwaubenon neighborhood, one person nearby got a text telling her to 'shelter in place.'

"I got the text message to stay in the house," a woman who asked not to be named said. "I was definitely scared because we had to go hide in the basement."

Outside, police responded to a welfare check. And authorities asked Sam Martin and Brown County Emergency Management to send an alert out to the public.

"In [Thursday's] case we selected cell, I think text message and landline phone," Martin said.

But some people near the crime scene told NBC 26 they didn't receive any notifications. Martin, the county's Emergency Management coordinator, says they should have.

"Sometimes that may not go through to the person if they have manipulated their phone to block these emergency alerts from the government," he said.

Emergency Management uses two services to alert people of danger. One is called Code Red, which Brown Co. citizens have to sign up for. Another is IPAWS, a system that automatically warns those who have the setting turned on their phone.

"We strongly recommend that people unlock that feature so they get these messages, because they are truly important," Martin said. "They're not just advertising."

If an incident only pertains to a certain locale, Martin sends messages to everyone in the specific area.

"For the truly life safety situations, those will go out to the cellphones regardless of the area code on that phone," he said.

If you sign up for Code Red or have alerts turned on your smartphone, Martin says it takes less than five minutes to spread life or death details.

"Get that information out to the public so that they can take appropriate safety measures to stay safe right now... very, very quickly," he said.