Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Now Sending Amber Alerts

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

At approximately 12:42 a.m., Monday, January 14, 2013, many users of newer-model smartphones and other wireless devices experienced receipt of their first Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) regarding an AMBER Alert. This alert was not distributed by the University of West Florida.

WEA is an emergency alerting technology that is manufactured directly into your mobile device. Generally, most devices manufactured within the last 1-2 years will have this technology installed. For more information: http://www.ctia.org/consumer_info/safety/index.cfm/AID/12082

One of the advantages of WEA is that anyone located within the warned geographical region with a capable device will receive the alert. For example, tourists from Wisconsin and Oregon on vacation in Orlando today also received the alert on their devices.

Effective January 1, 2013, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has added the use of WEA technology to the list of methods for distributing AMBER alerts.  This is probably the reason why this is the first time you are receiving an AMBER alert on your device.

Sample Wireless Emergency Alert

Other examples of alerts that may be sent using this technology include: Tornado Warnings, Flash Flood Warnings, Hurricane Warnings, Presidential Emergency Messages, and other immediate life threatening warnings.

For the moment, most WEA messages you receive were sent by DHS/FEMA, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, National Weather Service, and local county emergency management agencies.

You do have the capability to modify what type of WEA messages you receive by accessing the settings in your device.

If there is a situation of danger on the UWF campus, students, faculty and staff will be notified separately from Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA).

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