U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Https

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Emergency Alerts

Wireless Emergency Alerts

Emergency Alert System

NOAA Weather Radio

When emergencies strike, public safety officials use timely and reliable systems to alert you. This page describes different warning alerts you can get and how to get them.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs)

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are short emergency messages from authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial public alerting authorities that can be broadcast from cell towers to any WEA‐enabled mobile device in a locally targeted area. WEAs can be sent by state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the President of the United States.

Image
Illustration of an AMBER Alert on a mobile phone.
  • WEAs look like text messages but are designed to get your attention with a unique sound and vibration repeated twice.
  • WEAs are no more than 360 characters and include the type and time of the alert, any action you should take and the agency issuing the alert.
  • WEAs are not affected by network congestion and will not disrupt texts, calls or data sessions that are in progress.
  • You are not charged for receiving WEAs and there is no need to subscribe.
alert - info

If you are not receiving WEAs here are some tips to troubleshoot your mobile device:

  1. Check the settings on your mobile device and review your user manual (you may be able to find this online too).
    • Older phones may not be WEA capable, and some cell phone models require you to enable WEAs.
    • Some mobile service providers call these messages “Government Alerts,” or “Emergency Alert Messages.”
  2. Check with your wireless provider to see if they can resolve the issue.

To provide comments or concerns about WEAs sent in your area contact local officials directly.

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that allows the president to address the nation within 10 minutes during a national emergency. State and local authorities may also use the system to deliver important emergency information such as weather information, imminent threats, AMBER alerts and local incident information targeted to specific areas.

Image
A tv shows the message: Emergency Alert System  National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for the following counties:
  • The EAS is sent through broadcasters, satellite digital audio services, direct broadcast satellite providers, cable television systems and wireless cable systems.
  • The President has sole responsibility for determining when the national-level EAS will be activated. FEMA and the FCC are responsible for national-level tests and exercises.
  • The EAS is also used when all other means of alerting the public are unavailable.

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR)

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office based on your physical location.

Image
Illustration of a woman listening to the radio, with heavy rain outside the window.
  • NWR broadcasts official warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • NWR also broadcasts alerts of non-weather emergencies such as national security or public safety threats through the Emergency Alert System.

Associated Content

Last Updated: 09/20/2021