News release from the Allen County Board of Commissioners:
New System to Send Emergency Alerts to Cell Phones
Free nationwide service to begin this month
(June 13, 2012) â€” An additional tool for officials to alert and warn Allen County citizens about severe weather and other emergencies will become available this month.
The Commercial Mobile Alert System is a new public safety system that allows customers who own an enabled mobile device to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. The new technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested user areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services.
“This new system provides an additional opportunity for Allen County residents to receive life-saving information needed to get out of harm’s way when a threat exists,” said Bernie Beier, the director of the Allen County Emergency Management Agency.
CMAS enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas through cell towers, which push the information to dedicated receivers in CMAS-enabled mobile devices. Customers of participating carriers are automatically signed up for the free service.
“If an alert is received, citizens should follow the instructions and seek additional information from radio, television, NOAA Weather Radio, and other official sources for emergency information,” Beier said.
Some phones may require only software upgrades to receive alerts. In other cases a subscriber may need to purchase a new CMAS-capable device. Consumers should check with their wireless carrier regarding the availability of CMAS-capable handsets.
CMAS complements the existing Emergency Alert System (EAS) which is implemented by the FCC and FEMA at the federal level through broadcasters and other media service providers.
More information about CMAS can be found online at www.fema.gov/emergency/ipaws/cmas.