Alerts to cellphones helped locate a missing 9-year-old Alabama boy.

These stories are impressive. A missing 9-year-old Alabama boy was found safe last week after a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) was issued to cellphones in the area. It only makes sense. Most cellphones in the area receive the alert, whether cell users sign up or not.

Yes, the sounds made by WEA can be alarming, and yes, many people don’t even know their phone will pick up WEAs, and yes, it’s not a perfect system…but the results speak for themselves.

WEA messages are automatically sent out in most states at the same time Amber Alerts are issued. Local public safety organizations can also send out WEA messages, as long as they’ve gone through the FEMA process. (If your agency needs help knowing how to sign up, contact me at rick.wimberly @ and I’ll make sure you get the right information.)

(From Galain President Rick Wimberly’s Blog “Alerts and Notifications: Best Practices For Emergency Notification Programs

in Emergency Management Magazine)