Now that the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program–known to many as the Commercial Mobile Alert Service, or CMAS—is fully operational, it's clear that more must be done to educate the public about these potentially life–saving CMAS alerts. As recent media reports suggest, the messages can be somewhat startling to those who are unfamiliar with the alerts. It's worth noting that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is now issuing AMBER alerts on a statewide basis, rather than other alert types that are sent out at a county level. As a result, subscribers are likely to receive AMBER alerts more frequently. Be aware that your subscribers may have questions as they receive these messages, and let them know they have the ability to specify which types of alerts they wish to receive.
As with any new program, FEMA and other agencies are working through the kinks to determine how to best utilize CMAS alerts and to educate mobile subscribers. We'll keep you posted on relevant changes as the program evolves.