Wireless Emergency Alert System Goes Live2012.06.29 08:32 by Daniela
Beginning Thursday, the new Wireless Emergency Alerts system will warn Americans about menacing weather, even if they are nowhere near a television, radio or storm sirens. It sends blanket warnings to mobile devices in the path of a dangerous storm. Users do not have to sign up for the service or pay for the text message. And people who prefer not to get the warnings can opt out of the system.
However, not all cell phones, particularly older models, are capable of receiving the alerts. FEMA notes that some cell phone models might be upgradable, and all new cell phones on the market by the end of 2014 should have the capability. A list of models that are able to receive the alerts can be found on the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association's (CTIA) website.
Wireless carriers participate in the alert program voluntarily. Among national carriers, Sprint and Verizon are fully ready, but there are hundreds of smaller carriers that have not yet enabled the broadcasts, even though they might have agreed to do so. A list of participating carriers is available on FEMA.gov.
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