The state has received permission from the federal government to use a wireless system that can send text-message-like warnings to cell phones in the event of a natural disaster, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The system, which was recommended by a storm-response commission Cuomo put together after Superstorm Sandy, is equipped to send out alerts to large neighborhoods, cities or entire counties, according to the governor’s office.
Now, the state has the OK to send out information to state residents before and after a storm, including directions to shelter or information on when power will be restored.
The approval was announced as part of a conference on emergency preparedness, which was first scheduled for a year ago but was postponed, ironically, by the arrival of Superstorm Sandy.
In his opening remarks, Cuomo said the state has learned plenty from Sandy, as well as tropical storms Irene and Lee the year prior.
“There’s so much to remember and so much to process and so much to learn from. There’s plenty to grieve about—we lost life in Sandy—and there’s plenty to be grateful for,” Cuomo said. “Top of the grateful list are the first responders who are in the state, who showed a courage and a skill. And if it wasn’t for the first responders in this state and what they did, you would have seen more damage, you would have seen more lives lost.”