According to the FCC, consumers with prepaid
phones can receive WEAs as long as their provider has decided to participate in
WEA and the customer has a WEA-enabled device. These consumers receive the alerts
just as customers with paid, monthly service do.
No. A WEA
message is broadcast from area carrier towers to mobile devices in the area.
Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message, just like emergency
weather alerts you see on local TV. WEA, like the TV station, doesn't know who
is tuned in.
officials select the coverage area(s) which best match the location of an
emergency. All WEA-enabled mobile devices in the target location can receive
the alert, even if they are roaming or visiting from another state. In other
words, a customer visiting from Richmond or Detroit would receive alerts in Washington,
D.C., as long as he/she has a WEA-enabled mobile device in the alert zone.
does not sign up to receive a WEA message; it is automatically deployed through
the jurisdiction’s WEA system.
national, state or local government authorities may send alerts regarding
public safety emergencies – such as evacuation orders or shelter-in-place
orders due to severe weather, a terrorist threat or chemical spill – using WEA.
The alerts from authenticated public safety officials are sent through FEMA's
Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to participating wireless
carriers, which then push the alerts to cell phones and enabled mobile devices
in the affected area.
When the WEA program
launched, participating wireless providers were generally required to send the
alerts to a geographic area no larger than the county or counties affected by
the emergency situation. As of November 2017, all participating wireless
providers are required to transmit alerts to a geographic area that best
approximates the area affected by the emergency situation, even if it is
smaller than a county. Beginning November 30, 2019, participating wireless
providers must improve geo-targeting of alerts even further.
emergency managers need to hear from the public about the test. At the
conclusion of the test, a survey link will be distributed within participating
jurisdictions. Individuals will be asked to complete a web based survey to
share experiences regarding the WEA test. The survey will close on Friday,
numerous reasons a person may not receive the WEA test:
participating carriers may offer WEA on some, but not all, of their mobile
devices. Consumers should check with their wireless carriers to find out if
their cell phone is WEA-capable.
the test is deployed, a person is taking a call on their cell phone.
If apps are running, you may not receive the audible alert.
in WEA by wireless carriers is widespread but voluntary. Some carriers may
offer WEA over all or parts of their service areas or over all or only some of
their wireless devices. Other carriers may not offer WEA at all. Even if you
have WEA-enabled device, you would not receive WEAs in a service area where the
provider is not offering WEA or if your device is roaming on a provider network
that does not support the WEA service. Consumers should check with their
wireless carriers to determine the extent to which they are offering WEA.
possible you may have turned off the WEA notification on your cell phone. To
determine if the alert is on or off, you could try (based on the version of
Launch the Settings app on your iPhone. Tap on Notification Center and scroll all the way to the bottom. Under the Government Alerts section, toggle the AMBER Alerts or Government Alerts option on or off to enable or disable them.
To review status, go to Settings, click on the More option under the Wireless & Networks section, and scroll down to the Cell Broadcasts settings. Once opened, you will be able to see if disable extreme threats, severe threats, and Amber Alerts are selected.
*This depends on the version of a
person’s phone. Older versions of phones will have different paths to settings.
from major manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and LF receive WEA regardless
of where the device was purchased. This is possible because WEA are broadcast
from area carrier towers to mobile devices in the area.
In the event widespread severe weather or other
significant event occurs on April 5, the back-up date for the test is Monday,
April 9, between 10-11 a.m., the WEA subcommittee
chair, is hosting a call on Thursday, April 5, at 9 a.m. for the jurisdiction
administrators of the WEA system to give the green light for the test –
Public Information Officers/Communication officials should connect with your WEA administrator to
learn the outcome of this April 5 conference call.
WEA is a short
text message designed to capture your attention – emergency officials currently
only have 90 characters for the message. Messages sent (via telephone call,
text message, or email) through Alert Prince George's often include more
in-depth details about a critical event.
WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) is a
public safety system allowing people who use cell phones and other mobile
devices to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages about threats to
safety in their area.
Capital Region’s Emergency Managers Council of Governments is conducting the
country’s first live, geo-targeting exercise of WEA of this magnitude -
approximately 5.2 million residents and visitors will be in the test area. Each
jurisdiction is notifying public safety, law enforcement, private/public
sectors partners, public transit officials and the public.
Twenty jurisdictions in the National Capital Region are conducting a simultaneous regional Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system test on Thursday, April 5, 2018, between 10 – 11 a.m. Jurisdictions participating in the WEA test include: City of Alexandria, City of Bowie, City of College Park, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, City of Gaithersburg, City of Greenbelt, City of Takoma Park, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, City of Rockville, District of Columbia, Arlington County, Charles County, Fairfax County, Frederick County, Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Prince William County.
jurisdiction participating in the exercise will draw their geo-targeted map. We
are 100 percent certain cell phone or enabled mobile devices located outside,
but near, our jurisdiction will receive the WEA alert because this technology
uses carrier towers. Closer to rural areas, bleed over may be significant (up
to five miles) and in densely populated areas, it’s less (up to one mile). Officials
take issuing a WEA seriously – so if you receive a WEA, follow the protective
actions and immediately turn to local news for more details. During an actual
emergency officials are committed to providing critical life-saving
information; therefore, there is no exclusivity to this responsibility. We want
to ensure the safety of the public which means we will communicate as much as
possible in as many ways as possible.
No. Towards the end of 2017, emergency management officials determined exercising the coordination and deployment of a coordinated, regional WEA was needed to ensure the public receives the right information, at the right time, to make the right decisions during an actual emergency.
testing of public alert and warning systems assesses the system and identifies
any needed improvements. Public safety officials
need to be sure in times of an emergency or disaster, they have reliable
methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public.
Conducting a regional test supports the continued use, training, and
improvement of the WEA system.
It is very
likely based on a person’s location between 10-11 a.m. on Thursday, April 5,
that he/she will receive multiple WEA messages. For example, a person attends a
coffee meeting at 10:00 a.m. in Alexandria, at 10:30 a.m. drives to Arlington
and 11:00 a.m. heads to D.C. for another meeting. As a person navigates around
the NCR during 10-11 a.m., they will receive multiple messages.