Wireless Emergency Alerts Set to Launch

6 years 3 months 3 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
COLUMBIA - Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke about health care in Columbia on Friday at Laborers Local 955, as part of... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:35:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - After realizing the underrepresentation of Hispanic business owners in mid-Missouri, three Hispanic professionals established a group of 12... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - This is the last week of the regular season and it's a cold one. Our game of... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Two Midwest companies issued separate food recalls this week for bacterial contamination concerns. Hy-Vee said its supplier,... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 4:53:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN (AP) — Toxicology tests show that a boater was drunk when he slammed into a bluff at Missouri's Lake... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:41:35 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Legion of Black Collegians and the FourFront Marginalized Student Council held a solidarity walk Friday to show... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA), along with multiple medical associations, reaffirmed their opposition to the three... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:50:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For the fourth consecutive year, Project Homeless Connect provided services Friday for people who are experiencing homelessness... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $1 billion, as the second-largest lottery... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 12:10:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police want the public's help finding a man who allegedly ran from a traffic stop after hurting... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 11:42:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Two MU residence halls and an atrium were officially dedicated on Friday honoring three former MU students. Lucile... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 10:09:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just 1 in 4 people thinks Brett Kavanaugh was completely honest when as a Supreme Court nominee... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 9:58:13 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The US moved closer to acknowledging the role of Saudi Arabia in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's apparent death as... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 9:36:16 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
RANDOLPH COUNTY - MoDOT announced they will close Randolph County Route CC from Route FF to Route K on Monday,... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 8:30:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suburban St. Louis student after finding a loaded gun and a razor inside... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:46:15 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison in the 1984 beating death... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:10:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City doctor has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for his... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 6:51:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican opponent Josh Hawley were sometimes heated and often derisive as they... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:02:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 49°
5am 48°
6am 47°
7am 45°
8am 46°