By Mario Trujillo - 11/18/13 10:53 AM EST
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) said the death toll from tornadoes that blew through the Midwest on Sunday would have been higher without the emergency warning system in place.
Schock, who represents part of some of the worst hit areas, said he was surprised when he began getting warning alerts on his phone.
“I think the reason that there was only one loss of life in a community like this was because of the emergency response or the emergency warning system,” he said on CNN's "New Day." “I live in Peoria, and my phone was alerting, giving me the flood or the tornado warning system on my phone, which I was surprised I was getting it.”
An emergency alert system started last year called the Personal Localized Alerting Network allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to blast out warning alerts to cell phone carriers in "geographically-targeted text-like messages."
At least six deaths and dozens of injuries have been reported, according to The Associated Press. Schock described the devastation as “amazing.”