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Wireless Emergency Alerts

Date: February 5, 2016

With technological advances in cell phones, the way emergency warnings are sent to the public has grown. The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system allows for warning messages to be distributed to smart phones by sending a text type message directly to all users within a geographic area.  While the alert is similar to a text message, it is not as susceptible to congestions and overload in emergency situations.

The service is free, users can opt-out at any time, and alerts will not interrupt phone conversations. When traveling, if you drive into an alert area after the alert was originally sent, you should still receive it.

WEA must be turned on within each individual smartphone in order to receive alerts that have been issued. The location of the on and off designation for WEA differs between smartphones. AMBER alerts and emergency alerts can be opted in or out separate from each other. In iPhones, go to Settings – Notifications – Government Alerts – and ensure “emergency alerts” are on.  In some Android type phones, go to messages - push the menu button - select settings - scroll down to Emergency message settings - select Emergency alerts. For other phones contact your cell provider for instructions or the availability of WEA.

WEA messages should not be ignored. The use of WEA is reserved for Presidential alerts, imminent threat alerts, and AMBER alerts with only sever alerts being broadcast. When WEA messages are received, further information should be obtained from TV, radio, and internet based sources.

For additional WEA information, go to:  https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/wireless-emergency-alerts-wea

For local questions, contact the City of Friendswood Office of Emergency Management at 281-996-3335 or eoc@friendswood.com