Your phone could save a life—perhaps even your own. That’s because when you receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), you’ll know about dangerous, even imminent life-threatening situations, such as tornadoes, flash floods and hurricanes. That’s because CTIA and its carrier members, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), developed WEAs to send concise, text-like messages to mobile devices so Americans are alerted to dangerous situations and know what to do to keep themselves and others safe.
Wireless Emergency Alerts Can Save Your Life
How Alerts Work
Before an alert is sent, FEMA authorizes federal, state, local and tribal public safety agencies. FEMA then transmits the message to participating wireless providers. This process disseminates the information to WEA-capable phones in the specified geographic zone. The alert tells users from whom the information comes, what’s happening, who’s affected and what action to take. It is rebroadcast until the emergency is over.
WEAs, while they seem like text messages, are not texts; WEAs are sent only to those in the targeted area. In addition, these messages don’t disrupt any text, calls or data sessions in progress and mobile users are not charged for receiving alerts. WEAs have a unique sound and vibration so you won’t miss or mistake it for a text or phone call.
WEA In Action
Shortly after midnight, Johns Island, SC, residents received a WEA on their mobile devices about an impending tornado in September 2015. Within minutes, the 130-mph wind splintered trees and damaged 80 houses along a seven-mile path. While many lost their homes and possessions, their families were safe. One resident grabbed his infant daughter after receiving the WEA and safely took shelter before the roof over his daughter’s room ripped away. The father said the alert on his phone “was a savior.”
How To Tell If You Can Get Alerts
If your device has the Wireless Emergency Alerts logo, it’s WEA capable. To confirm this, check with your wireless provider.
Participating carriers include:
- Bluegrass Cellular
- Cricket Wireless
- Sprint Wireless
- T-Mobile USA
- U.S. Cellular
Settings On iPhone
On an iPhone you can go to settings. Then notifications. Go to the bottom it will have Government Alerts with on and off switches. One is AMBER Alerts and the other is Emergency Alerts. This is how you can either turn them off or on. I recommend leaving these on.
On my phone, I have only seen the Amber Alerts come up. I know the AMBER alert will give you info about the alert. It will tell you the location, sometimes the age or sex of the child, the vehicle last seen in or other brief details.
Active Amber Alerts
The new Presidential Alerts cannot be opted out.
Missing Children Bulletins for Tennessee
Missing Children over 18 for Tennessee
If you live in the Knoxville, TN you can sign up for other kinds of alerts that is sent via text message, like weather, news, school closing and more. Click Here for more information.
Learn More about Wireless Emergency Alerts
You can find further information on Wireless Emergency Alerts from the experts at CTIA at http://ctia.it/1d64xZy.
Article compliments of NAPSnet.