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

500M Yahoo! Users Impacted by Hack; What It Says About Password Protection

By: Paula Bernier    9/23/2016

Yahoo! is facing a lot of challenges lately. Add to the heap the breach - which the company confirmed today - that has affected 500 million Yahoo! acc…

Read More

From Robotic Friends to Flying Cars: Looking Ahead to 2025

By: Rob Enderle    9/22/2016

I'm at the IBMEdge conference this week, and one of the topics that came up at lunch today was how robotics are going to dramatically change how and w…

Read More

Windows 10: Is it Worth the Update?

By: Alicia Young    9/22/2016

Last summer, Microsoft shook up their Windows design with the release of Windows 10. They offered the update to users for free for a year, giving ever…

Read More

Apple Making Serious Push Into Car Industry

By: Andrew Bindelglass    9/22/2016

Over the past two years, Apple has been seriously looking into entering the connected car industry, attempting to build its own electric vehicle that …

Read More

Will Legacy Paper Save Us From Electronic Fraud?

By: Doug Mohney    9/21/2016

Voting in the 2016 elections may be under threat from hacking, with the FBI worried about interference by a foreign power. Every day, I and tens of th…

Read More