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Wireless Emergency Alerts FAQs
  1. What are Wireless Emergency Alerts?

    Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free wireless notifications that are delivered to your mobile device as part of a new public safety system provided by Authorized Senders. They are designed to inform you of imminent threats to safety or missing persons alerts in your area.

    In order to receive WEAs, you must have a capable device and be located in an area (e.g., county) targeted by Authorized Senders to receive the alert.

    View a list of Compatible devices which includes instructions for device settings related to Wireless Emergency Alerts.

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  2. Where are Wireless Emergency Alerts available?

    Beginning April 7, 2012, Wireless Emergency Alerts are available nationally with very limited exceptions.  Accordingly, the following is a message required by the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”):

    Notice Regarding Transmission of Wireless Emergency Alerts (Commercial Mobile Alert Service)

    Verizon Wireless has chosen to offer wireless emergency alerts within portions of its service area as defined by the terms and conditions of its service agreement, on wireless emergency alert capable devices. There is no additional charge for these wireless emergency alerts. Wireless emergency alerts may not be available on all devices or in the entire service area, or if a subscriber is outside of the Verizon Wireless service area.

    Notice required by FCC Rule 47 C.F.R. § 10.240 (Commercial Mobile Alert Service).

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  3. What information is typically included in a Wireless Emergency Alert?

    Wireless Emergency Alerts and updates will provide the following information:

    • Alert Category
    • Event Type
    • Response
    • Severity
    • Urgency
    • Certainty

    Note: Since these alerts are initiated by Authorized Senders, we will not possess any information beyond what is provided in the actual message.

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  4. Why did I receive a Wireless Emergency Alert?

    Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are broadcast in a geographical area to  inform WEA capable subscribers  of imminent threats to safety or missing persons reports in your area. Authorized Senders issues these alerts only within strict guidelines and when they feel it is necessary to do so.

    If you received a WEA, you are within the geographical location being targeted by the Authorized Sender. You should review the information in the alert carefully and proceed as directed.

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  5. Why did I receive a test Wireless Emergency Alert?

    Participating carriers are required to support monthly test alerts of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) system. Only specific persons within the carrier’s network employees, or within specific emergency response agencies should receive these alerts.

    If you are receiving test alerts, we thank you for your patience. The manufacturer of your device will soon release a silent, over the air fix to prevent further receipt of test alerts.

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  6. Why did I receive multiple or duplicate Wireless Emergency Alerts?

    Devices compatible with Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are designed to reject duplicate alerts. Occasionally, Authorized Senders will issue updates to WEAs with new information and a new alert ID. These updates may be very similar to the original alert but will contain supplementary information.

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  7. Will I receive local Wireless Emergency Alerts while roaming? Will I receive “home” alerts while roaming?

    No, only devices compatible with Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) and operating within the targeted geographical areas should receive these alerts. Alerts are not delivered to any device outside of that area.

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  8. How do I know if my device is capable of receiving government Wireless Emergency Alerts?

    Devices capable of receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are marked on the retail callout card and at the Verizon Wireless equipment descriptions on line with the Wireless Emergency Alert Capable logo:



    They will also be specifically listed as WEA capable at all Verizon Wireless retail stores.

    View a list of Wireless Emergency Alert Compatible Devices. 

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  9. Is there anything Verizon Wireless can do to make my device capable of receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts?

    Special software and hardware changes are necessary to support Wireless Emergency Alert capabilities. Unfortunately, these changes cannot be retrofitted to older model devices.

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  10. I believe I was in a targeted geographic alert zone. Why didn’t I receive a Wireless Emergency Alert?

    Wireless Emergency Alerts are sent to cell sites providing wireless service to very specific areas. Your device may have been receiving service in a different area, or even from an adjacent area cell site, which was not targeted by the alert.

    Most WEA alerts will be re-broadcast several times to reach the maximum number of devices in the targeted area. Once a device has received an alert, it will not accept duplicate or identical alerts.

    Note: Alerts will only be received by capable devices. Without a capable device, you will not receive an alert even if you are within the targeted geographic location.

    View a list of Compatible devices
    which includes instructions for device settings related to Wireless Emergency Alerts.

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  11. I have a device compatible with Wireless Emergency Alert. I am traveling today, but I did not receive an alert. Why?

    Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are geographically targeted. Only subscribers with WEA capable devices operating within the targeted alert zone will receive alerts.

    WEA capable devices operating outside of the targeted geographical areas will not receive those alerts.

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  12. I have an SMS Block, why did I receive a Wireless Emergency Alert?

    Yes you will.  These WEA alerts do not travel over our Short Message System (SMS) and are not blocked by an SMS Block feature.

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  13. Will I be charged for receiving a Wireless Emergency Alert?

    No, we provide Wireless Emergency Alerts FREE, at no charge to you.

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  14. Can I opt out of receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts?

    There are three types of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA):

    • Presidential Alerts: about news of national authority concern
    • Imminent Danger Alerts: Severe and Extreme alerts about weather events and threat levels
    • Amber Alerts: about the disappearance of persons (minor or otherwise)

    You may change settings within your device to opt out of Imminent Danger and Amber Alerts, but you may not opt out of Presidential Alerts.  You may find instructions for your specific device at the Verizon Wireless equipment site

    To manage your preferences for specific alerts, go to the WEA application in your device and select and save your preferences. See your device manual for instructions.

    View a list of Compatable devices which includes instructions for device settings related to Wireless Emergency Alerts.

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  15. I’ve received a Wireless Emergency Alert. What should I do to ensure my safety or obtain additional information?

    Review the information included in the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) that you received, and follow any instructions that may be listed. Authorized Senders may also release updates to WEAs with further information as needed. Please watch for subsequent updates, and review them carefully for new details.

    Note: Because these alerts are initiated by Authorized Senders, Verizon Wireless does not have any information beyond what is provided in the actual message.

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  16. Is Verizon Wireless or the government tracking my location as part of the Wireless Emergency Alert system?

    No, your location information is not requested, provided or maintained in the delivery of a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA). WEAs are broadcasted within counties or zones determined by Authorized Senders. All devices compatible with WEA that are located within a targeted zone will receive these alerts.

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  17. I have the same, or similar, device as someone I know who received a Wireless Emergency Alert. Why didn’t I receive this alert?

    Devices are released containing differing revisions of software and firmware. Earlier devices of the same or similar model may not be capable of receiving the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). If your device is compatible with WEA, you will receive the alert. If not, your device will not receive them.

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  18. What geographic locations will receive Wireless Emergency Alerts?

    Authorized Senders determine which locations will receive a specific alert based on the area defined by the geographical latitude and longitude of the emergency. As circumstances dictate, Authorized Senders will identify  targeted areas for each specific alert. Devices compatible with Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) that are operating within the area targeted will receive the WEA. Those devices operating in areas not targeted by Authorized Senders will not receive the alert.

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  19. If I’m on a call or in a data session when a Wireless Emergency Alert is released, will I receive the alert?

    No, if you are engaged in a voice or data session when alerts are released, you will not receive the alert.  Alerts may be re-broadcast at specific intervals in the targeted geographic locations, in order to reach as many devices as possible. However, after that interval has concluded, or the alerts have been superceded, the original alert will no longer be released..

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Last Modified: March 24, 2014