The federal government and American wireless providers will be bringing a new Emergency Text Alert System to everyone in US on a cellphone this month. The service which will provide geography-based warnings of life threatening events including tornadoes, floods, hurricanes typhoons, tsunamis, dust storms, extreme winds, blizzards and ice storms will be free for all.
The text alerts which are short and informative will inform recipients about what to do next in any event. The advice provided includes the informing of customers to seek additional information or to immediately seek shelter if necessary. For now, similar services such as weather applications do provide some prior warnings but this will be the first national service by the federal government and the wireless industry.
Wireless carriers representing more than 97% of subscribers voluntarily agreed to develop and offer free, geographically targeted wireless emergency alerts,” said Amy Storey, spokeswoman for the CTIA— The Wireless Association. AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless are participating.
In order to receive the alerts, you will not have to change anything or make any additions and you can have the security of knowing that you are privileged to information about emergencies that might occur in an area near where you are. In addition to that, the new system will include an AMBER alert system for missing children as well as Presidential Alerts for national emergencies. Although every consumer will be automatically added to the system, you can opt-out of receiving any of the available alerts that might occur except Presidential Alerts.
Of course with a system like this, there is always the issue of ‘false alarms’ causing mayhem unnecessarily but as the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. So after the service rolls out this month, if you get a warning message heed and follow its instructions as it could save your life. On a personal note, I would welcome this new service with open arms.