Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to be transmitted via the CriticalLinc™ network

What is WEA?

WEA capability provides local, tribal, state, territorial, and Federal government officials the ability to send 90-character, geographically-targeted text alerts to the public.

How does WEA work?

Authorized alert originators (the first responder community) can submit alerts for delivery to participating carrier networks.

What does a WEA message look like?

The WEA service uses the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) to deliver a text message that will show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters.

What types of alerts will I receive?

WEA facilitates three types of alerts: extreme weather and other threatening emergencies in your area, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.

How will I know the difference between WEA and a regular text message?

WEA messages include a special tone and vibration, which repeat twice. WEA uses a Short Message Service (SMS)-Cell Broadcast (SMS-CB), one-to-many alert delivery service. This service sends simultaneous messages to multiple recipients within in a specified geographic area, allowing for faster delivery of messages to large numbers of people during an emergency.

How often will I receive WEA messages?

You may get very few WEA messages, or you may receive frequent messages when conditions change during an emergency. The number of messages depends on the number of imminent threats to life or property in your area.

Will a WEA message interrupt my phone conversations?

No, the alert will be delayed until you finish your call.

What should I do when I receive a WEA message?

Follow any action advised by the message and seek more details from local media or authorities.

Will I receive a WEA message if I'm visiting an area where I don't live, or outside the area where my phone is registered?

Yes, you can receive WEA alerts anywhere if you have a WEA-capable phone. For information about which mobile devices are WEA-capable and carrier participation, please visit https://www.ctia.org/consumer-resources/wireless-emergency-alerts or contact your wireless carrier.

What if I travel into a threat area after a WEA message is already sent?

If you travel into a threat area after an alert is first sent, your WEA-capable device will receive the message when you enter the area.

Does WEA know where I am? Is it tracking me?

No. Just like emergency weather alerts you see on local TV, WEA messages are broadcast from area cell towers to mobile devices in the area. Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message, just like how a TV shows the emergency weather alert if it is turned on.

What if I don't want to receive WEA messages?

You can opt-out of receiving WEA messages for imminent threats and AMBER alerts, but not for Presidential messages. To opt out, adjust the settings on your mobile device. You may opt in again at any time.

Will I be charged for receiving WEA messages?

No, WEA messages will not count towards texting limits on your wireless plan.

What types of weather-related WEA alerts does the National Weather Service send?

NOAA's NWS will only originate alerts for weather emergencies that are most dangerous to life and property including tsunami, tornado, flash flood, hurricane, typhoon, dust storm, extreme wind, blizzard, ice storm, and lake effect snow warnings.

For more information, please visit NOAA's “Weather-Ready Nation” website at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/wea.html

This information taken from https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Wireless%20Emergency%20Alerts%20Frequently%20Asked%20Questions.pdf