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Iowa City News - Do You Use SMS Alerts?

Take advantage of emergency warning services to keep you safe at home and when you travel

Multiple victims were shot to death at an Iowa City home early this morning. The five bodies were found quickly, due to an anonymous emergency caller, but one resident was missing.

Be PreparedBe Prepared Police quickly put out an alert for Steven Sueppel and the family's van - both were conspicuously absent from the scene.

To protect locals' safety, all local schools went into lockdown, while college and university staff and students were alerted by automated text and telephone messages. The alerts let students know that there was an active shooter at large, with a detailed description of the van and Sueppel as well. The students were staying safe, but had the chance to be crime-busters if they spotted the missing man.

It's the most high profile use of automatic alerts to date, but the technology has been around for a while.

Travelers can take advantage of similar systems on the go - so you know if your destination is about to turn into a danger zone. The up-to-the-minute warnings are useful when a situation overturns in the blink of an eye (like in Kenya last year) or when a single criminal makes a city temporarily unsafe.

With services like Allsafe Travels and Travel.State.Gov, you can sign up for email or RSS feeds of global travel warnings.

Or turn Google Mobile into a personalized emergency warning system with SMS alerts on news topics specific to your destination (an any countries you're passing through).

As well as signing up with a world-wide travel alert service make the best use of the internet by checking your home country's travel warnings before you go. Remember that new travel alert services show up every day - search for one specific to your destination before your departure.

For breaking news about the Iowa City tragedy visit one of these reliable news sites:

The AP

USA Today

Fox News

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