GCI updates emergency alert system

GCI’s more than 100,000 customers will no longer have to download a special app to get wireless emergency alerts pushed to their cellphones.

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In January, a late-night magnitude 7.9 earthquake and subsequent threat of a tsunami prompted warnings from state and federal emergency alert systems. There were no serious injuries reported, but the rumbling uncovered several flaws in how the alerts go out.

Shortly after the earthquake, as many GCI customers wondered why they hadn’t gotten alerts automatically on their phones, the company said it was still working to update its systems.

GCI spokesman Josh Edge says that update now in place, but there’s one more step customers with iPhones will have to complete. Edge says, to get the alerts, GCI’s iPhone users still need to update their carrier settings and may have already received a message notifying them of the available update.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at cgrove@alaskapublic.org.