Alerts to be ‘next generation of emergency notification’

(April 12, 2012) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) partnered with wireless carriers to create a national public safety system that delivers relevant, geo-targeted messages to mobile devices to alert users of impending threats to safety in their geographic area. Cellcom’s network is now prepared to send these wireless emergency alerts and FEMA is expected to sign alerts on Cellcom’s network into action next week.

“These alerts are a big step in enhancing public safety and will be the next generation of emergency notification,” said Jim Lienau, Chief Technical Officer at Cellcom. “While these notifications will not eliminate the need for sirens or TV warnings, they will offer another safety net for consumers who may be disconnected from other mediums and who are already reliant on their wireless device.”  

These free alerts are generated from local, state and national public safety organizations. Customers in the affected area when these alerts are initiated and with a compatible handset will receive a short, 90-character message on their device. The alerts include presidential alerts that are issued by the President for local, regional or national emergencies, imminent threat alerts that can be classified as extreme or severe threats to life or property, and AMBER alerts that are related to missing or endangered children.

“These messages will tell you type of alert, the area affected, recommend action, expiration time and the sending agency,” said Lienau. “People are encouraged to review the information and follow any instructions that are given.”

Because of the short design of the message, users should check with other sources to get additional specific information, like the radio, TV or the National Weather Service. The sending agency may also release updates to the wireless emergency alerts with further information as needed. 

Users can opt out of imminent threat and AMBER alerts through the emergency alert settings on their capable device, however, users cannot opt out of presidential alerts.

Cellcom already has one device in its line-up that is capable of receiving these alerts. Others will be added in the future. For more information on the program, visit, or and search for wireless emergency alerts.

Cellcom is a wireless company that provides nationwide service through nearly 80 retail and agent locations throughout Wisconsin and Michigan. Cellcom is respected for its long-standing reputation of providing extraordinary customer care, and its renowned network is customized to its rural markets and customers. As a subsidiary of Nsight, Cellcom is part of a family of companies offering complete telecommunications services. For more information visit


Additional Resources:
FAQ on Cellcom's website

Overview from CTIA - The Wireless Association

Information from FEMA

Information from FCC