As mentioned here on AWARE, changes were made in the past few months in the way abducted-child AMBER Alerts are delivered to cell phones and other mobile devices. The previous Wireless AMBER Alert Program SMS-based alerts were replaced by the new Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. With 700,000 people having been subscribed to the previous program, a huge awareness campaign is needed to advise the public of the switch to WEA. At least one state has taken a very proactive approach on its outreach. Continue reading »
Almost a year has passed since the roll-out of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA, previously known as the Commercial Mobile Alert Service, or CMAS). In this time, public safety officials (primarily the National Weather Service) have sent about 3,000 WEA messages to mobile devices. News stories on this new capability are becoming more commonplace, and more WEA-capable mobile devices are coming online. You may have even received a WEA message on your device by now.
Unfortunately, some message recipients have responded to these messages by looking for a way to turn them off—presumably because they do not perceive the alerts to be relevant to them or their local area. They then take to their phone looking for the settings menu where they can opt out of the alerts.
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Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Order DA 13-280, stating that the Commission is revising its Part 10 rules by changing the name Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) to Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). These are the wireless alert system technical rules governing the participating cellular wireless carriers, which the FCC calls Commercial Mobile Service Providers (CMSPs). This change is effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Continue reading »
FEMA recently held a webinar giving the latest details on its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), as well as tips for local alert originators on acquiring and using IPAWS alert origination systems. The session also offered an update on the forthcoming alert originator test lab detailed in December here on AWARE. Continue reading »