Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency notifications from local, state, or federal officials that are broadcast to cell phones in a targeted area, alerting residents about the emergency, and with important, but limited information such as the emergency's location, what actions residents should take, and how they can find out more information. The National Weather Service and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children can also send WEA messages to residents to alert them to possible dangers like Flash Flood Warnings, or with information on abducted children with AMBER Alerts. The Federal Communications Commission is currently working to revamp the Emergency Alert System to allow the president to broadcast an emergency message to the entire country all at once. In 2012, the FCC launched Wireless Emergency Alerts -- text messages sent to users at no cost to the user that warn of things like approaching storms or Amber Alerts issued near a user's current location. Emergency alert system scheduled to launchThe federal government and wireless phone service providers have built a system - called Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) or Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) - that will send a text-like message to your phone. The Mobile Emergency Alert System, co-developed by PBS and field-tested by public stations, is designed to deliver public safety messages when the grid goes down and cellular networks are jammed. By the end of 2014, most new mobile devices will be able to receive WEAs, and PBS developed the technical redundancy to guarantee those alerts will arrive on the devices of their intended recipients if Internet service is disrupted.


The technical system is set up to tap pubTV stations as relays between FEMA, which sends WEAs to local pubcasters, and local commercial mobile service providers (CMSPs), which then forward the alerts to their mobile customers.
25 launched Twitter Alerts, which sends push notifications to participating users' smartphones when a select organization has sent a specially marked emergency tweet. Public stations looking to deploy the service in their communities can buy equipment from commercial vendors right now, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has offered memoranda of agreement to any station that elects to broadcast M-EAS alerts.
The messages alert recipients to specific emergencies in their area and direct them to local media for more information. Currently, the president of the United States is able to send out a message during a national emergency, but it can only be broadcast at the local level. Current is an editorially independent, nonprofit service of the American University School of Communication.
A provision in the legislation expanded the national broadcast-based Emergency Alert System to include voluntary participation by cellular mobile service providers, and ordered the FCC to create a backup system through noncommercial television stations.


Most newer phones are WEA-capable, and no registration is required, so whether you’re a long term resident, or recently arriving tourist, student, or military service member, if your phone is WEA-capable, you can get these important alerts. The FCC is currently working to set up a system to allow the president to broadcast an emergency message to the entire nation all at once. After public safety agencies transmit wireless emergency alert (WEA) messages to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the PBS WARN system automatically reformats the messages for transmission to local stations through the public TV interconnection system. After all, the current NCTA president is Michael Powell, who served as FCC chair when the current APTS-NCTA-PBS agreement was negotiated. A $56.8 million technology project equipping public television stations to help deliver geo-targeted emergency messages to mobile devices has reached an important milestone.



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