Don't Get Caught in a Tsunami: Free Text Messages Can Save Your Life

By Stefania Viscusi July 03, 2012

Severe and catastrophic weather conditions have unfortunately become the norm here in the U.S. But from Hurricane Katrina to the current Colorado wildfires, the tremendous loss and fear has opened doors to improving our emergency response and alert systems.

The National Weather Service, together with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has now activated a Wireless Emergency Alerts system to send out warnings about tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, flash floods, extreme winds, blizzards and ice and dust storms to anyone who may be in the path of life-threatening weather.

Currently participating wireless providers Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile are offering the services nationwide for later model Windows and Android devices.  AT&T will only provide services for the New York City, Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon market at this time – with iPhone support rumored to be expected in the fall.

The hope is that as the number of mobile phone users continues to grow, it will be possible to get the larger population informed about the latest weather conditions and out of harm’s way – even if they never listen to the radio or watch TV.

According to a recent Pew Study, 88 percent of U.S. adults are cell owners, with 46 percent of those users having a smartphone.

No more than 90 character texts will be issued along with a special tone and vibrate feature to ensure recipients are aware of the critical message being sent. While these messages are completely free, there is also an option to opt out for mobile users.

This weather text alert system is the biggest piece in a larger alert network planned by the U.S. Government. The service also garners support from other agencies that will notify the public about any important warnings – like AMBER Alerts as well as President-issued notifications which cannot be opted out of.




Edited by Braden Becker

Assignment Desk Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Validates Class Action Suit Over Data Breach

By: Peter Bernstein    7/27/2015

Since what follows is about legal matters, let me start with the disclosure that I am not a lawyer, have no legal training and this is not an attempt …

Read More

The Do's and Don'ts of Viral Content Promotion

By: Drew Hendricks    7/27/2015

Viral content promotion is the word we use to describe content that just simply takes off on its own. It creates a brand out of nothing and can quickl…

Read More

Windows 10: Z Generation is When Everything Will Change.

By: Rob Enderle    7/24/2015

I started looking at the new Windows 10 ads and it got me thinking about how much change we will have seen that the next generation of Windows users w…

Read More

AT&T-DirecTV Merger May Benefit Consumers in a Big Way

By: Tara Seals    7/24/2015

The FCC is about to approve a $49 billion merger between AT&T and DirecTV, the No. 1 US satellite TV provider, and if the conditions that the commissi…

Read More

AT&T, House of Cards and Net Neutrality

By: Doug Mohney    7/22/2015

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is green lighting AT&T's $49 billion takeover of DirecTV, in exchange for promises to abide by stricter Ne…

Read More