RIDGELAND, Miss.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the start of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season just around the corner, C Spire is reminding customers that they can receive free, location-based notifications on capable mobile phones under a national public safety warning system designed to alert consumers during emergencies.
Wireless carriers voluntarily broadcast the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) over their networks in cooperation with state and federal authorities under the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) program, but only after extensive testing and certification by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The alerts played an important role in keeping Mississippi residents updated about weather threats during a recent rash of killer tornadoes that swept through the state in late April, killing 14 people, destroying or damaging over 2,460 homes and 87 businesses in 23 counties.
C Spire received final FEMA approval last July to begin broadcasting the text-like, 90 character messages designed to warn consumers about severe weather threats, missing persons or Presidential alerts during national emergencies. Customers can opt out of weather and missing person alerts by adjusting their device notification settings, but Presidential alerts are mandatory.
“Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency like a hurricane,” said Eric Hollingsworth, vice president of Network Operations for C Spire. “With WEA, warnings are sent to your phone when you’re in harm’s way without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service.”
C Spire currently offers 11 WEA-capable devices, which are identified with a special logo both in stores and online. The devices include the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 4S*, iPhone 4*, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy S 4, Samsung Galaxy S 5, Motorola Defy XT 556, Moto X, HTC One and LG F7. All smartphones manufactured and introduced beginning in 2013 are WEA-capable.
In addition, the company has developed and offers a specialized WEA client-based application for smartphones running on Android 2.1 and higher mobile operating systems. The free FEMA-approved app, called C Spire Emergency Alerts, can be downloaded from the Google Play store or from the C Spire website at www.cspire.com/cmas.
Hollingsworth said the WEA messages feature a special tone and vibration that is repeated twice so users can easily identify these types of emergency alerts. In some smartphone models, there may be an audible warning.
The alerts are targeted to specific geographic areas where threats occur and Hollingsworth said customers will receive the message if they travel into an area where an alert has been issued or if they are already within the area using a WEA-capable device.
The alerts are required under the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act, a 2006 law that established a voluntary, national emergency alert system called for by President Bush in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the U.S. that killed 3,000 people, damaged the Pentagon and destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City.
For more information about Wireless Emergency Alerts and CMAS on the C Spire network, go to www.cspire.com/cmas.
About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.