A new nationwide emergency alert system called Wireless Emergency Alerts was introduced to northern Nevada last week.
WEA is a public safety system that allows customers who own certain wireless phone models and other enabled mobile devices to receive geographically targeted messages, alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. Alerts may be sent out by FEMA, the National Weather Service or local public safety officials. WEA was put into place by the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, Homeland Security and the National Weather Service, according to a press release.
Whether at home or traveling through an area where a weather warning has been issued, a cell phone will pick up alerts broadcast by nearby cell towers. Those towers will broadcast the message much like an AM/FM radio station, and any enabled cell phones within range will immediately pick up the signal. The emergency alert message will automatically pop up on the cell phone’s screen, but the cell phone user will not incur any cost for receiving the emergency alert.
The alerts will be issued for a few very distinct reasons. Alerts will be sent for extreme weather and other threatening emergencies. Additionally, there will be messages issued for AMBER alerts and presidential alerts, the press release stated. Users can opt out of receiving WEA messages for imminent threats and AMBER alerts, but not for presidential messages. To opt out, refer to instructions from your wireless carrier or visit http://www.ctia.org/wea for more information. For more information, visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/wea.html
Information on the different types of severe weather such as earthquakes, wild fires, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available www.ready.gov/severeweather or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov.