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    Mobile wireless emergency alerting capabilities will be available nationwide through participating carriers

    WASHINGTON - Hurricane Season begins June 1, 2012, FEMA is providing additional tools for federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officials to alert and warn the public about severe weather. Using the Commercial Mobile Alert System, or CMAS, which is a part of FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, this structure will be used to deliver Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to wireless carriers for distribution to the public.

     

    The CMAS system will allow the National Weather Service to soon begin issuing WEAs for the most dangerous weather through participating wireless carriers directly to cell phones. The alerts will be broadcast by cell towers much like an AM/FM radio station, and cell phones within range will immediately pick up the signal, provided they are capable of receiving these alerts. The availability of WEA alerts will be dependent on the network status of the wireless carriers and handset availability, since not all cell phones can receive WEAs. People should check with their cellular carriers to see if WEA alerts are available in their area.

     

    "The wireless emergency alert capability provides an additional opportunity for the public to receive life-saving information needed to get out of harm's way when a threat exists," said Timothy Manning, FEMA deputy administrator for protection and national preparedness. "The public also has a critical role in their personal preparedness. There are a few simple steps that everyone can take to be prepared, like knowing which risks exist in your area and making a family emergency plan. Information and resources to help individuals and families prepare can be found at ready.gov."

     

    WEAs will look like a text message, and will automatically appear on the mobile device screen showing the type and time of alert along with any action that should be taken. The message will be no more than 90 characters, and will have a unique tone and vibration, indicating a WEA has been received. If an alert is received, citizens should follow the instructions and seek additional information from radio, television, NOAA Weather Radio, and other official sources for emergency information. Citizens should only call 911 in a life threatening situation.

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