The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently integrated updates to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), improving Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and giving authorities more capabilities when sending to cellular phones and other wireless devices.
The updates include Spanish-language capabilities, an increase from 90 to 360 characters per message and an expanded alert category allowing the public to opt-in to a test message category for state and local officials. The updates also include more accurate geo-targeting capabilities for alerts. Television and radio alerts via the Emergency Alert System are not affected by this upgrade.
The enhancements require updates to wireless provider networks across the nation and updates to customer phones. All updates are being coordinated with the Federal Communications Commission.