Lemon Grove residents can now get additional emergency alerts directly to their cell phones thanks to the Wireless Emergency Alert program, a result of a partnership between the Sheriff's Department and the County Office of Emergency Services, officials recently announced.
The alert is the cell phone version of the Emergency Alert System residents often hear or see on television during a wildfire or flash flood in San Diego County, officials wrote in a news release.
Alerts can be sent out in the event of extreme weather, AMBER Alerts or in the event of Presidential Alerts during a national emergency, sheriff’s officials wrote in their announcement.
The alerts are FREE. They will not count against any text message or data plan, officials said.
“You will only receive the alerts during a large-scale incident such as a wildfire,” officials wrote in a news release. “WEA messages are limited to 90 characters. They will contain basic information about the emergency, actions people should take to protect themselves, and where people can get more information.”
The Federal Communications Commission is working on the limitations with photos and web links, officials wrote.
Most smart phones are WEA capable and no registration is required, officials wrote.
“If you're a long term resident, or recently arriving tourist, student or military service member, if you're phone is WEA capable, you can get these important alerts” officials wrote. “To find out if your phone is WEA capable, call your cell phone provider.”
“Many of you received a WEA alert from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) last month in the search for kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson,” officials wrote. “Some complained about the annoying sound and the timing of the alert. The FCC and cell phone providers determine the sound and how often the alerts are issued. We urge you not to opt out of the alerts. Crime and emergencies can happen at any time and the alert could save your life.”
WEA is different from Alert San Diego. You have to sign up for Alert San Diego and the notification is based on the address impacted by an emergency or disaster, officials wrote.