FCC updates how some emergency alerts will look on phones

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Image: FEMA

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it has combined two categories of text message alerts into one: the “Presidential Alerts” and alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The two will now be in a new “National Alerts” category, active on all devices that receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

The goal of the alerts is to warn the public of natural disasters and other crisis situations, “and are of ever-increasing importance given the emergencies and disasters Americans have faced in recent years,” the FCC said in a news release (pdf). The false alert in Hawaii in 2018, where residents were warned of an imminent ballistic missile threat that wasn’t real, highlighted the need for improvements to its...

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