The Wireless Emergency Alerts system is an essential part of America's emergency preparedness. Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system has been used nearly 56,000 times to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations – all through alerts on compatible cell phones and other mobile devices.
WEA is a public safety system that allows customers who own compatible mobile devices to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area.
WEA enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas – lower Manhattan in New York, for example.
The Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act established WEA in 2008 and it became operational in 2012.
Wireless companies volunteer to participate in WEA, which is the result of a unique public/private partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the FCC, and the United States wireless industry in order to enhance public safety.
FAQs about WEA
- How does WEA work?
- Who receives the alerts?
- How much do consumers pay to receive WEA?
- Do consumers have to sign up to receive alerts?
- What alerts does WEA deliver?
- What do consumers experience when they receive a WEA?
- Are consumers able to receive WEAs on a prepaid phone?
- Does WEA track my location?
- Are WEAs text messages?
- Do consumers need a new phone or a smart phone to receive alerts?
- Is WEA available everywhere?
- Can consumers block WEAs?
- Why can't consumers block WEAs issued by the President?
- How will subscribers know if their carrier offers WEA?
- My friend just received a WEA over her cell phone, but I did not. We are in the same location. Why didn't I receive a WEA?
- How geographically precise is WEA?
- What is the FCC's role in WEA?
- Does the FCC send alerts?
- Who do I contact with questions about how WEA works on my wireless device?
- How do I know if my wireless phone or mobile device can receive WEA messages?
Enhanced Wireless Emergency Alerts Available for COVID-19 Pandemic
The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has reminded authorized alert originators that the Wireless Emergency Alert system is available as a tool during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more
Accessibility and WEA