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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With the National Weather Service (NWS) issuing Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) alerts in cities and towns across the U.S. on a near-daily basis, and FEMA’s list of IPAWS Alerting Authorities growing every month, AWARE decided it was time to send our CMAS Secret Shopper to Philadelphia.
Because Philadelphia has yet to be added to FEMA’s list of IPAWS Alerting Authorities, we anticipated a lack of familiarity with CMAS, also known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). However, we were surprised and delighted to discover that three of the four big four carriers’ local retail stores were showing a bit of brotherly love to WEA/CMAS – and we just may have NWS to thank for it. Continue reading »
In a mid-November FEMA webinar, the alert and warning community received an update on the extensive use of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) by the National Weather Service (NWS) over the last several months and an encouraging report from FEMA on the growing number of alert originators and alert origination service developers that continue to request connection to FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).
Recently, a band of severe storms made its way from the Midwest to the East Coast, leading the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a tornado warning to parts of Maryland. Nearly five minutes after NWS issued their warning, the University of Maryland (UMD) campus alert system issued a tornado warning message to its subscriber base. This delay is the subject of a recent article published by UMD’s student-run newspaper, The Diamondback. The article, a first-hand account from the author, highlights the importance of receiving timely alerts and warnings. In this case, the author received the alert message from various applications on his phone before he received the campus alert message. Sometimes having more than one “tool in the toolbox” helps the public get the information they need in a timely fashion. Continue reading »