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Wireless Emergency Alerts Enabled on Mobile Phones

Contact: Ron Leix, MSP/EMHSD Public Information Officer, (517) 336-6464
Agency: State Police

Wireless Emergency Alerts logo

Issued: July 14, 2014

With questions arising about unfamiliar warnings coming from mobile phones during recent severe weather, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) reminds Michiganders that newer mobile phones are automatically enabled to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

“Many people have been asking questions about Wireless Emergency Alerts,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “This is a life-saving technology that helps inform the public about a potential life-threating situation.   When these alerts are received at the right time, they can help direct you to safety during an emergency or disaster.”

Known as WEA for short, these alerts are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities—such as the National Weather Service and state and local emergency response officials—through a user’s mobile carrier. If an imminent threat does occur and an alert is sent, a WEA-capable mobile phone will emit a special emergency tone or vibration with a text-like instructional message.

There are three different kinds of alerts:

  • Imminent threats, such as extreme weather and other life-threating emergencies in your area
  • AMBER Alerts
  • Presidential Alerts during a national emergency

Mobile phone users are not charged for receiving these notifications and are automatically enrolled to receive them. Users may opt out of receiving imminent threat warnings and AMBER Alerts; however, they may not opt out from receiving Presidential Alerts.

For more information about WEA, go to www.ready.gov/alerts. To learn more about being prepared before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS or go to www.michigan.gov/beprepared

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is responsible for coordinating state and federal resources to assist local government in response and relief activities in the event of an emergency or disaster, as well as coordinating homeland security initiatives and various federal grants.



Related Documents
Fact Sheet - Wireless Emergency Alerts - 39862 bytes PDF icon