Expect a wireless emergency alert during extreme weather - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Expect a wireless emergency alert during extreme weather

(Source: FEMA) (Source: FEMA)
PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - Smartphone users in New York City got a strange alert on Monday warning them all streets would close after 11 p.m. because of possible blizzard conditions.

Turns out, people right here in the Heartland can get those same type of alerts.

They're called wireless emergency alerts (WEA).

The alerts come in from federal agencies or local governments, and all the major carriers push them through to people that have newer smart phones that are equipped with the correct technology.

These will override the volume controls on your device and make a unique sound and even vibrate, so they're hard to miss.

They are geographically targeted to tell you if a big storm is headed your way or if a child is missing in the area.

Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service said the idea behind the alerts is to quickly notify people if they're in danger.

"You've first got to know you're in danger in order to take action to make yourself safe," Shanklin said. "So we want to be sure that at least everyone knows they're potentially in harms way. And they have that opportunity to take action to protect themselves and their loved ones."

Shanklin said it's unique technology because it'll alert you no matter where you are.

"If you're traveling you may not have any idea what county you're in and getting a warning a conventional way maybe difficult for you to know if you're in the warning or not," Shanklin said. "But not with the WEAs, you're only going to get that if you're in the warned area."

If you don't want this notification, you can opt out by just switching the alerts off in your phones' settings.

However, because of the WARN Act, passed by Congress, you won't be able to block any of the alerts sent out by the President.

For more information about the alerts click here.

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.
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