Washington citizens may have noticed in the last few months receiving Amber Alerts on their cell phones as “emergency alerts.”
Beginning Jan. 1, the Wireless Emergency Alert System was launched nationally by the Department of Justice and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the Wireless Carrier industry.
There are three different alerts issued through the Wireless Emergency Alert system:
· Presidential Alerts – Alerts issued by the President or designee
· Imminent Threat Alerts – Alerts include severe man-made or natural disasters
· Amber Alerts
Users may “opt out” of Amber alerts and Imminent Threat Alerts by contacting their wireless carrier or following the link below for individual carrier instructions for each device and how to turn it off.
Presidential Alerts cannot be opted out of.
The public should be cautioned, however, that “opting out” of receiving alerts via the WEA will affect their ability to receive alerts when they are travelling outside their cell phone numbers “home” area.
The WEA uses geographic locations of cell phone devices for notifications, not cell numbers. So anyone travelling through the area of an AMBER alert will receive the alert. These alerts are not text messages; instead they are point to point messages that are location driven.
The Washington State Patrol oversees the master Alert plan in Washington State using a State Alert Advisory Committee comprised of key stakeholders.
Over the weekend, an alert was sent using the CMAS system during the early morning hours. Although the Alert successfully led to the recovery of the endangered child, the WSP has received multiple complaints about the timing. It’s the WSP’s hope that people don’t “opt out” of these advisories that serve a very useful purpose in broadcasting important updates about abducted children and are committed to ensure CMAS is being used at an appropriate time of day to avoid citizens “opting out” of the CMAS program.
It’s important to remember that the reason for an alert is to assist in the recovery of an abducted child believed to be in danger. Issuing alerts have assisted in the successful recovery of more than 640 children from their abductors nationwide. That number includes this weekend’s successful recovery of Brayden Blasius who had been abducted from Montana. He was located in Fife, and police there are giving full credit to the Alert system for the successful recovery.
For more information on WEA/CMAS alerts see the following website: