What are wireless emergency alerts?
Wireless emergency alerts (WEAs) are used to send concise, text-like messages to WEA-capable mobile devices during emergency situations. WEAs are sent by state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the President of the United States. View Wireless Emergency Alerts introduction in PDF format.
More than 100 wireless providers, including all of the largest carriers, have WEA-capable devices. WEA-capable phones first became available in April 2012, but many mobile devices, especially older ones, are not WEA-capable. If you purchase a new mobile device, it will probably be able to receive WEA messages.
There are three types of alerts, as listed below.
- PRESIDENTIAL - Alerts are issued by the President or a designee during a national emergency.
- IMMINENT THREAT - Alerts are issued when an imminent threat to life or property exists in your area, including man-made or natural disasters such as flash floods and tornadoes.
- AMBER - Alerts are issued to help law enforcement search for and locate an abducted child.