A couple of weeks ago I was at work, and out of nowhere one of the most obnoxious sounds ever blared through the entire building. I actually thought it was a fire alarm at first but soon realized it was coming from the mobile phones of every single person in the room in unison. There had to have been at least 30+ people present. You see, it is now not only the latest episode of American Idol that’s being interrupted by these pesky Emergency Alerts, because times they are a changing.
This all started in June of 2012 when the federal government and wireless service providers built a system called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) also known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). This system sends text-like messages to wireless phones that are in the vicinity of an impacted area. Standard text messaging charges do not apply. I repeat standard text messaging charges do not apply, so you don’t have to worry about being charged for them if you are not subscribed to a texting package. Even so, many people find these rather annoying. The good news is that you can opt out of MOST of them.
There are 3 different types of messages that are sent:
- Presidential Alerts – Alerts issued by the President of the United States or someone with similar authority
- Imminent Threat Alerts – Alerts that include severe man-made or natural disasters, including tornados, hurricanes, tsunami or other even where there is an imminent threat to life or property
- AMBER Alerts – Alerts to help law enforcement search for and locate an abducted child
*Presidential alerts are the only ones that you can not opt out of receiving*
If you wish to be excluded from these audio bundles of joy, the setting to turn them off is located within the messaging app of your device (most phones but not all). If it is not located there, you can check under the standalone settings app. The following is an example provided from the Galaxy S3/S4/Note 2 series.
On your phone FIRST go into your MESSAGING application where you can see your text message threads then press the MENU key and choose SETTINGS.
From here you will see this:
If you really wanna have some fun with this then you can click on “Emergency notification preview” in the company of someone else. The most opportune time would be in the following scenarios:
When they are either:
Sleeping, Reading a book, or Deep in thought studying for finals
At this point you should probably be prepared for bodily harm and/or flying objects.
- AT&T iPhone Users Now Get Emergency Alerts (coated.com)