Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) Service

What is WEA?

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) service is a free notification service. The program was created through a partnership among the CTIA-The Wireless Association, the wireless industry, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Federal Emergancy Management Agency (FEMA).  WEA is also known as the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) or the Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN).


Purpose and How It Works

The purpose of WEA is to notify wireless users of severe weather threats in their area. When the National Weather Service issues certain weather warnings, cell towers will broadcast the alert to cell users in the threat area. The service is not subscription based, and it does not track your location. Here are some more specifics about the service:

  • Users will only receive the emergency alerts if they are in the threat area.
  • If you travel into an alert area after the alert was originally sent, you should still receive it.
  • Each WEA is only displayed once, so you don't receive duplicates.
  • WEA has a distinct vibration cadence and audio tone.
  • Alerts do not interrupt when you are in a voice or data session on the device.
    • WEA consist of 3 alert types:
    • Presidential Alerts
    • Imminent Threat Alerts - includes severe man-made or natural disasters
    • AMBER Alerts

Mobile users will not be charged for receiving these text-like alerts and are automatically enrolled to receive them.


Service Roll-Out

Wireless providers representing nearly 97 percent of subscribers are participating in the WEA.  These providers include, AT&T, Cellcomm, Cricket, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. 

Sprint has already fully deployed the service nationwide. The WEA service will roll-out gradually among the other participating providers.


Opting Out of the Service

Users will have the ability to opt-out of the AMBER alerts and/or the Imminent Threat Alerts, but not the Presidential Alerts. 

Important Notice: WEA is intended to act as a bell ringer, not a replacement for other warning systems. It is part of the overall larger warning network. Individuals using this service should still monitor TV/radio, NWR, community warning systems, EAS, mobile/desktop apps, etc.

For More Information

If you would like additional information on the WEA Service, please visit this website.

This website dispells some myths about the service. 

For specific information about whether your wireless device can receive these alerts and when the service will be available, please contact your wireless service provider.


Types and Formats of Message Alerts

Warning Type
CMAS Message
Tsunami Warning
Tsunami Warning in this area. Avoid coastal areas. Check local media. –NWS
Tornado Warning
Tornado Warning in this area til hh:mm tzT. Take shelter now. –NWS
Extreme Wind Warning
Extreme Wind Warning this area til hh:mm tzT ddd. Take shelter. –NWS
Flash Flood Warning
Flash Flood Warning this area til hh:mm tzT. Avoid flooded areas. Check local media. -NWS
Hurricane Warning
Hurricane Warning this area til hh:mm tzT ddd. Check local media and authorities. -NWS
Typhoon Warning
Typhoon Warning this area til hh:mm tzT ddd. Check local media and authorities. -NWS
Blizzard Warning
Blizzard Warning this area til hh:mm tzT ddd. Prepare. Avoid Travel. Check media. -NWS
Ice Storm Warning
Ice Storm Warning this area til hh:mm tzT ddd. Prepare. Avoid Travel. Check media. -NWS
Lake Effect Snow Warning
Lake Effect Snow Warning this area til hh:mm tzT ddd. Avoid travel. Check media. –NWS
Dust Storm Warning
Dust Storm Warning in this area til hh:mm tzT ddd. Avoid travel. Check local media. -NWS


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