Wireless Emergency Alerts Set to Launch

5 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, June 26 2012 Jun 26, 2012 Tuesday, June 26, 2012 3:46:00 PM CDT June 26, 2012 in News
By: Joe Chiodo
loading

BOONVILLE- A new emergency alert system that can deliver warnings directly to cell phones is set to launch nationwide by Friday. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA's) will go out to all newer model cell phones in the tower's geographic location. This means the tower you are nearest to will send alerts, whether you are in your hometown, or traveling throughout the country. The alerts are sent out by default, meaning you do not sign up for it. Once you begin receiving the messages, you may opt out.

The Cooper County Emergency Management Agency will take part in the launch, which is a partnership with FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to warn of national emergencies involving weather, governmental issues, and amber alerts. Tom White, director of Cooper County EMA, stressed the alerts are different than text messages. "While these warnings may look like text messages, there won't be any charges on your phone bill," said White. "It's more advanced than a text, which is why it's taken longer to develop."

The messages will be limited to 90 characters. For this reason, White urges recipients to call 911 if an alert confuses them or more information is needed.

Right now ten percent of cell phones in use are capable of receiving alerts. Newer model phones not able to receive them, can get a software update that will make them WEA-capable. The wireless industry estimates by 2014 nearly all phones on the market will be WEA-capable. The system will not track or locate individual cell phones or numbers, it simply broadcasts to all phones within a range.

One of the alerts that will benefit from the new system are AMBER Alerts. When a child goes missing and an alert is issued, the warning will immediately be issued to anyone with a WEA-capable cell phone.

Stephanie Chandler, a mother of two and Executive Director of The Academy of Early Childhood Learning in Columbia, said she thinks the new system will be beneficial to parents and children. "Obviously anytime an AMBER alert is issued, you're concerned, but this will allow everyone to make the right turn and know how to approach the situation. The system will make the word spread faster," Chandler said.

One of the biggest advocates of AMBER Alerts, and a nationally recognized victim of child kidnapping, Elizabeth Smart, told KOMU 8 she strongly supports any improvements. "I think we should be utilizing as much different technology as we can so we can not only try to catch up to those predators, but to hopefully get one step ahead of them," Smart said.

White said if you are unsure whether or not your phone is WEA-capable, you should check with your carrier.

Follow the Cooper County EMA on Twitter here.

 

More News

Grid
List
MILLER COUNTY - Prosecutors charged a Miller County man with failing to comply with sex offender registration for a third... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 9:44:00 AM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The growth of Columbia Regional Airport is set to take another step forward Wednesday morning. Mayor Brian... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:04:00 AM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - SWAT teams broke in to a home on Fir Place following a standoff early Wednesday, but did not... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, December 13 2017 Dec 13, 2017 Wednesday, December 13, 2017 7:55:00 AM CST December 13, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - For people in jail, it's sometimes difficult to get together the funds to bail out. That's where... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 10:24:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama Republican Roy Moore, beset by allegations of sexual misconduct, lost his bid to become a senator.... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:30:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The former Cole County Chief Juvenile Officer sued his former boss and the Cole County Commission Tuesday,... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 7:33:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - An abandoned car caught fire Tuesday at the intersection of East Broadway and South Rolling Hills Road.... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 7:21:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
Update: Police said the investigation into the Monday Old Hawthorne homicide revealed a home invasion and drug use. Investigators... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 7:21:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri has entered in a new foster care study that will look at foster parent recruitment and retention.... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:51:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - A criminal investigation was underway Tuesday after a man's death and a vehicle fire. Foul play was... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 5:08:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Cover Missouri, a coalition promoting sign ups for the Affordable Care Act, held an open-enrollment event at the... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 4:41:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The 2018 Jefferson City council elections only have one contested seat: 5th Ward Council member. Incumbent... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 4:41:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Truman VA’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) went live with a new Tele-ICU technology on Tuesday. Tele-ICU... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:46:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Police are still investigating the death of Augustus Roberts, the man found dead at a home in the... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:46:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Troopers arrested a man on Tuesday after a high-speed chase which started south of Ashland and ended in... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:38:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
VERSAILLES - Prosecutors filed charges against three employees of the Morgan County Jail on Monday, including a nurse accused of... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:37:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri has become the 34th state, in addition to two territories, to accept a nationwide public safety network.... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:35:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
NEVADA (AP) — Two inmates who were captured soon after breaking out of a western Missouri jail face new charges.... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, December 12 2017 Dec 12, 2017 Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:20:00 PM CST December 12, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 47°
11am 48°
12pm 52°
1pm 54°
2pm 55°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:00a
Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
10:00a
Jerry Springer
11:00a
Jerry Springer
12:00p
Jerry Springer

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Wall
8:00p
Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special
7:00p
Riverdale
8:00p
Dynasty
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld