Wireless Emergency Alerts to begin in June

Beginning in June of this year, the wireless emergency alerts will begin pushing to capable cell phones throughout the United States

Wireless Emergency Alerts are part of a larger system, IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System), that is replacing older alert technologies, such as the Emergency Alert System. IPAWS was created in response to a need for more complete emergency notifications to the general public. It is a framework for integrating existing alerting methods into a unified network, with a streamlined and unified activation protocol.

IPAWS will utilize broadcast tv and radio alerts, cellular phone alerts (Wireless Emergency Alerts), NOAA all hazards radio alerts, and non-traditional sources.

Wireless Emergency Alerts will most often be used to warn the public within an affected area of severe weather, but can be used for other hazards, such as hazardous material spills, terrorist attacks, or other emergencies where effective public information is critical in protecting human life and property.

The majority of current cell phones are not capable of supporting WEA Alerts, but newer models, and new phones that are currently being sold are capable of supporting this technology.  The benefits of WEA alerts are that they are a broadcast-type message originated from the cell phone towers in the affected are. This means that tower use, congestion, and capacity are not limiting factors when pushing out a WEA alert. Even if the cellular network is so congested that you cannot initiate a call or send a text message, a WEA alert will still be received. The major drawbacks to WEA alerts are that they are broadcast by the location of the tower. This means that if your phone is on a tower that is outside of the affected area, but you are located within the affected area, your phone will not receive the alert. This also means that alerts will be broadcast within the whole range of the cellular tower, which in rural areas is up to 10 miles. This means that a large number of people who are outside of the affected area will likely receive the alert as well.

For further information on Wireless Emergency Alerts, please visit this site:


For further information on IPAWS, please visit this site:


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