FEMA Stories August 11

PSA: FEMA and FCC to conduct emergency alert test today

Since 2012, the US has had the Wireless Emergency Alerts program that uses Americans’ cell phones to warn them about emergencies, such as dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations. Today, FEMA and FCC are conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts.

FEMA Stories June 14, 2013

AT&T enables emergency government alerts for iPhone 5/4S users

A feature that Apple originally introduced with iOS 6 but is implemented on a carrier by carrier basis is Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). Verizon and at least some Sprint iPhone users have a “Government Alerts” pane in Settings to enable both emergency alerts, such as those from FEMA, and AMBER alerts. Today, AT&T announced that the feature will be coming to its iPhone 5 and 4S users, as mandated by law, through an over the air software update.

These are government-issued safety messages that include AMBER Alerts, emergency alerts – such as man-made or natural disasters, and Presidential alerts.

Wireless Emergency Alerts are part of the FCC’s CMAS program and are mandated by law.  You may turn off alerts (except for Presidential alerts) if you choose.  Go to Settings >Notifications>Turn On/Off.

You can always disable the notifications if you’d like (except for presidential alerts), but AT&T notes users are “not charged for the data to deliver it and Wireless Emergency Alerts will never count against your messaging plan.”

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