Last we heard of the federal government's Wireless Emergency Alert system, only Sprint had signed on to deliver the SMS warnings.
Just a test, but Verizon's 'civil emergency' text message spells fear, confusion around N.J. Rumson authorities issued its own alert to citizens in the Monmouth County community: "THERE IS NO EMERGENCY. Even though the New Jersey office of Homeland Security tweeted that there was no danger, the surprise alert scared many residents.
Phones on the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks that are WEA-capable may receive the messages during the test, according to officials with the New York City Office of Emergency Management. According to WCBS the system will be in place in cities across the country by the end of 2012. The screen of the device will either say "Severe Alert" or "Extreme Alert," but if a user reads on further, they will see the following message: "This is a test from NYC Office of Emergency Mgmt. With a unique sound and vibration, Wireless Emergency Alerts keep you in the know, wherever you are. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. If you travel into a threat area after an alert is first sent, your WEA-capable device will receive the message when you enter the area.
You can opt-out of receiving WEA messages for imminent threats and AMBER alerts, but not for Presidential messages. The Extreme alerts from the National Weather Service include warnings for tsunamis, tornadoes, extreme winds, hurricanes and typhoons.
WEA messages are broadcast using radio-like technology from cell towers in, and sometimes around, the actual warning area.

FEMA has produced Public Service Announcements that demonstrate how wireless alerts save lives.
The NWS pushes our suite of warnings, advisories, and watches to a national collection pointcalled the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) The NWS specially marks our most critical NWS alerts for WEA distribution, so that when they reach IPAWS, they are pushed to commercial wireless carriers who broadcast the alert from cell towers in the threat area to your cell phone. CMAS refers to the Commercial Mobile Alert System, a public safety initiative that involves FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission and subscribed wireless phone carriers. The alert sparked confusion that spread online via Twitter, before authorities confirmed that there was no actual danger. He hit the wrong buttons, and it ended up cutting in and issuing a terror attack alert all over Pennsylvania. This is only a test." CBS station WCBS in New York City reported that six messages will be sent out, but users who are able to receive the messages may get one or more messages or none at all. With WEA, alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm's way, without need to download an app or subscribe to a service. WEA use radio technology to broadcast the alert from cell towers to mobile devices in the area of the threat. Message frequency depends on the number of imminent threats to life or property in your area.
The Severe alerts from National Weather Service include warnings for flash floods and dust storms. Therefore, an alert can reach cell phones outside of the actual warning area depending on the broadcast range of the cell towers which broadcast the alert. Other sources include NOAA Weather Radio, news media coverage, the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV broadcasts, desktop applications, mobile applications, and other alerting methods offered by local and state public safety agencies. IPAWS also serves as collection point for non-weather alerts, such as civil and child abduction emergency messages which are issued by other emergency authorities.

Students enrolled in the MU emergency alert system were sent text messages or e-mails asking them to confirm receipt of the message. Using a "point-to-multipoint system" that targets at-risk subscribers, the National Weather Service, FEMA, FCC and Department of Homeland Security-backed initiative works by sending location-based messages of 90 characters or less to nearby handsets in the event of an imminent meteorological threat. The alert appeared to have only affected Droid-operated phones, said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden. On Thursday, people in New York with capable phones will receive text messages that will either say "severe alert" or "extreme alert." It's no reason for panic. America’s wireless industry is helping to build a Weather-Ready Nation through a nationwide text emergency alert system, called Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), which will warn you when weather threatens. The mostly opt-out service will also accommodate AMBER and Presidential alerts, although you won't have that flexibility for missives sent from our head of state. The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), together with the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), are conducting a test on the WEA system - a new, free emergency notification program that will send messages to people who might be in an affected area. When in place, the WEA system will allow the FCC and FEMA to send out texts about natural disasters, terrorist attacks and AMBER alerts for missing children. The New York test comes days after Verizon Wireless accidentally sent an emergency alert, telling some of their customers in the Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties of New Jersey that an extreme alert was in place.

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