Can your mobile phone receive emergency alerts? - FOX 13 News

Can your mobile phone receive emergency alerts?

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

As the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning Monday evening for parts of the Bay Area, some people's mobile phones lit up with an alert -- but many others did not.

The alerts are part of a new system the FCC and FEMA rolled out earlier this year to send emergency messages to people's phones. There are three kinds of alerts:

  • Imminent threat alerts: Alerts that include severe man-made or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., where an imminent threat to life or property exists;
  • Presidential alerts: Alerts issued by the President or a designee;
  • AMBER Alerts: Alerts that meet the U.S. Department of Justice's criteria to help law enforcement search for and locate an abducted child.

Monday night around 7:30 p.m., the NWS issued a tornado warning for Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, saying a tornado had been spotted near MacDill Air Force Base.

Unfortunately, many cell phone users did not get the alert. That's because not all phones and operating systems are capable of receiving them.

To see if your device is capable of receiving the alerts, you have to check with your carrier.

Here is a link with a list carriers, and frequently asked questions about the system:

Previous coverage:

Weather alerts coming soon to a smartphone near you:



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