By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
Beginning in June, a text message might save your life. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) will automatically be sent to cell phones through the various mobile carriers.
Gregory Syroney of the Scioto County Storm Chaser Center (SCC), said alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without need to download an app or subscribe to a service. He said there are three types of alerts you will receive — extreme weather, and other threatening emergencies in your area; Amber alerts and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency. These alerts will look like a text message and will show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters.
If you are visiting an area where you don’t live and you have a WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program, you will receive warnings. If you travel into a threat area after an alert is first sent, your WEA-capable device will receive the message when you enter the area.
The SCC says anyone can get information about which mobile devices are WEA-capable and carrier participation by visiting www.ctia.org/wea, or by contacting your wireless carrier. While the WEA will begin in June, many mobile devices, especially older ones, are not WEA-capable, so when you buy a new mobile device, it probably will be able to receive WEA messages.
According to the Storm Chaser Center, WEA messages will include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice.
The National Weather Service will send tsunami warnings; tornado and flash flood warnings; hurricane, typhoon, dust storm and extreme wind warnings as well as blizzard and ice storm warnings.
Syroney said people can opt out of receiving WEA messages for imminent threats and Amber alerts, but not for presidential alerts. To opt out, refer to instructions from your wireless carrier, or by visiting www.ctia.org/wea.
If you do not have a WEA-capable device, other sources for notifications include NOAA Weather Radio, news media coverage, the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV broadcasts, social media, and alerting methods offered by local and state public safety agencies.
Syroney said people needing more information may go to the Center’s website at www.stormchasercenter.net.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.