Wireless Emergency Alerts FAQs

General Information

  1. What are Wireless Emergency Alerts?

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

    To receive WEAs, you must have a compatible device and be located in an area (e.g., state, county, city) targeted by Authorized Senders to receive the alert.

    View a list of compatible devices.

  2. Where are Wireless Emergency Alerts available?

    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, including enhanced geo-targeting, 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, including enhanced geo-targeting, 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. For details on the availability of this service and wireless emergency alert capable devices, including the availability and benefits of enhanced geo-targeting, please ask a sales representative, or go to our Wireless Emergency Alert Compatible Devices page.


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

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

    Wireless Emergency Alerts typically provide the following information:

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

    Note: Since these alerts are initiated by Authorized Senders, we won't possess any information beyond what's provided in the message. Some alerts may include a link to additional online content provided by an Authorized Sender, but your device may not be able to "tap" or "click" that link directly.

  4. Why did I receive a Wireless Emergency Alert?

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

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

  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're receiving test alerts, we thank you for your patience. The manufacturer of your device should release a silent, over the air fix to prevent further receipt of test alerts.

  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.

  7. Will I receive local or "home" Wireless Emergency Alerts while roaming or traveling?

    No, only devices compatible with Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) and geographically located within the targeted geographical areas should receive these alerts. Alerts aren't delivered to any device outside of that area.

  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 online with the Wireless Emergency Alert Capable logo:



    View a list of Wireless Emergency Alert Compatible Devices.

  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 can't be retrofitted to older model devices.

  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 wasn't targeted by the alert. Signal coverage and device behavior also can affect whether you receive an alert.

    Most WEA alerts will be re-broadcast more than once to reach the maximum number of devices in the targeted area. Once a device has received an alert, it won't accept duplicate or identical alerts.

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

    View a list of compatible devices.

  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-compatible devices served by cell sites within the targeted alert zone will receive alerts.

    WEA-compatible devices operating significantly outside of the targeted geographical areas won't receive those alerts.

  12. I have a messaging block for my phone, will I still receive a Wireless Emergency Alert?

    Yes, you will. WEA alerts aren't sent as text or multimedia messages and therefore aren't blocked by messaging block.

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

    No, we provide Wireless Emergency Alerts for free.

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

    Yes, you may change your device's settings to opt out of Imminent Danger, AMBER Alerts and Public Safety Alerts, but you can't opt out of Presidential Alerts. Check your device's User Guide for instructions

    These are the four 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).
    • Public Safety Messages: Additional information on actions to take in response to one of the other alert types. (May not be available on older devices.)

    View a list of compatible devices.

  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, we don't have any information beyond what's provided in the message. Some alerts may include a link to additional online content provided by an Authorized Sender, but your device may not be able to "tap" or "click" that link directly.

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

    No, your location isn't 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 are designed to receive these alerts.

  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) or using newer alerting capabilities. If your device is compatible with WEA and you were located within the targeted location for the alert at the time it was sent, you'll receive the alert. If not, your device won't receive them. Signal coverage and device hardware or software behavior also may affect whether you receive the alert.

  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 are designed to receive the WEA. Those devices operating in areas not targeted by Authorized Senders won't receive the alert.

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

    For some newer 4G devices, yes. But if you have an older model and are engaged in a voice or data session when alerts are released, you won't receive the alert. Alerts may be re-broadcast more than once in the targeted geographic locations to reach as many devices as possible. However, after that interval has concluded, or the alerts have been superseded, the original alert will no longer be released.

  20. What are enhanced Wireless Emergency Alert capabilities?

    Some newer devices can support alerts with additional capabilities you may consider helpful. These are:

    • Public Safety Alerts: These provide additional information on actions to take in response to one of the other alert types.
    • Clickable Links: An Authorized Sender may include a link to additional online content.
    • More Characters: Some newer devices can deliver alerts with up to 360 characters, alerts otherwise are limited to 90 characters.
    • Spanish Language: Check your device setting instructions to activate this feature. Whether a particular alert is available in Spanish also depends on the Authorized Sender's delivery capability.
    • Concurrent Presentation: Allows you to receive an alert during a voice or data session.
    • State and Local Testing: Allows state and local governments to conduct tests using messages that you will not receive (unless you choose to receive them).
    • Enhanced Geo-Targeting: Reduces the chance that you will receive the alert if you are outside the Authorized Sender's targeted area. You may need to enable location services on your device to use this capability.