C Spire Reminds Consumers of Wireless Emergency Alerts
Tuesday, June 02, 2020 | Comments

As hurricane season begins, C Spire reminded consumers 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 FCC.

C Spire received final FEMA approval in 2014 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.

C Spire Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Carla Lewis said the alerts play an important role in keeping central Mississippi residents updated about flooding threats. Without the alerts, C Spire and emergency response officials say injuries and deaths could result and damage totals could be much higher.

"Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency like a flood," Lewis said. "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. We know that these messages delivered over our network help save lives."

The alerts helped keep Mississippi residents updated about weather threats during a rash of tornadoes, severe storms and record backwater flooding that swept through the state in recent months, killing 15 people and damaging or destroying thousands of homes and businesses. Without the alerts, more injuries and deaths may have occurred, and damage totals would have been much higher, according to emergency response officials.

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