What is a public safety alert?
- The Wireless Emergency Alerts system is an essential part of the US' emergency preparedness
- WEAs can be sent by state and local public safety officials
- The EAS is a national public warning system used to deliver emergency information
During emergencies, public safety officials use timely and reliable systems to alert you. A Public Safety alert is a warning to the community about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations.
The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system is an essential part of America's emergency preparedness launched in 2012. The WEA system has been used more than 70,000 times, according to its website. It allows customers who own compatible mobile devices to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats in their area.
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The Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act established WEA in 2008 and it became operational in 2012.
WEAs can be 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.
A WEA cannot be more than 360 characters and includes the type and time of the alert. According to Ready.gov, WEAs are not affected by network congestion and the alerts don't disrupt texts, calls or data sessions that are in progress.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that allows the president to address the nation within 10 minutes during a national emergency. The system is also used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information such as weather information, imminent threats, AMBER alerts and local incident information targeted to specific areas.
The EAS is sent through broadcasters, satellite digital audio services, direct broadcast satellite providers, cable television systems and wireless cable systems. The alert system is used when all other means of alerting the public are unavailable.
Another public alert system, the FEMA App, allows to receive real-time weather and emergency alerts, send notifications, locate emergency shelters in your area, get preparedness strategies and more.