Android and iPhone users on a number of wireless carriers received a notification just after 9:00 p.m. saying "An AMBER Alert has been issued in your area, please check local media."
The message was accompanied by the Emergency Alert System sound.
This came to be because of an agreement between the CTIA-The Wireless Association, the wireless industry, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
If you have a WEA-enabled phone, you are automatically enrolled.
There are three different kinds of alerts:
More information can be found on CTIA's webage, but here are some facts on Wireless Emergency Alerts:
Who sends Wireless Emergency Alerts?
The alerts are initiated by authorized federal, state, local and tribal public safety agencies and aggregated by FEMA. Next, FEMA transmits the messages to the participating wireless carriers. Finally, the wireless carriers broadcast the message to subscribers with WEA-capable phones in the specified geographic zone.
Here is a list of participating carriers:
Is a Wireless Emergency Alert the same as a SMS text message?
No, the Wireless Emergency Alert appears similar to a text message, but uses a different kind of technology to ensure they are delivered immediately and are not subjected to potential congestion (or delays) on wireless networks.
Can I turn off Wireless Emergency Alerts?
Consumers may opt out of Imminent Threat and AMBER alerts. Per the WARN Act of 1996, Congress said that no consumer could opt out of Presidential Alerts.
Will I be charged for Wireless Emergency Alerts?
No, the alerts are free of cost for all subscribers.
(All information from CTIA)