The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Program is operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A WEA allows members of the public with WEA-compatible mobile devices to receive free geographically-targeted wireless alert messages, Presidential, and other Imminent Threat Alerts.
In short, yes, extremely successful. Since the application of the embedded hyperlink in October 2018, WEAs have accounted for the majority of recoveries of AMBER Alert victims. It has empowered community members to take an active part in safely locating missing endangered persons. Previously, the only information available to the public had to be constrained to 90 characters of text with no pictures. Now there is no limit to the amount of information, including vital photographs, that the public can access by navigating to the embedded alert page. The CHP has many stories of this program working. These are not statistics, but actual children and other at-risk adults. The heroes of these stories aren’t restricted to a CHP uniform. They range from children on bicycles, to youth sitting in a parking lot, to a group of people at a gas station, to a couple walking down the street, and many, many more. We at the CHP are proud of their service to their community and heroic actions.
When the CHP activates the WEA, your device should only receive one alert. Individual wireless providers are responsible for the dissemination of the WEA messages to the devices on their respective networks. The technology and interoperability involved with a WEA message being sent to your mobile device continues to evolve and improve. But mistakes happen. If you have questions about receiving multiple alerts or alerts after an event has been deactivated, please contact your wireless provider directly.
No. Oversaturation of alerts is always a concern and is an element discussed prior to each activation. Unlike the majority of other states, the CHP, as the statewide coordinator, has safeguards in place to help pinpoint the location and duration of each alert. Each alert activation is custom tailored to ensure that the community or communities that need the information receive it, and those that do not need it are not provided irrelevant alert information that they cannot assist with. At any given time, there can be multiple active alerts throughout California, but community members are only notified about the alerts that impact them. Success of the system depends on its judicious use and the participation of the public to alert law enforcement when they sight subjects matching the descriptions in the alerts. As of 2018, the CHP was the first law enforcement agency in the nation to successfully incorporate the use of an embedded hyperlink to provide a flyer, relevant detail and associated pictures. The CHP Twitter page @CHPAlerts maintains an updated list of all alerts in California and can be found at https://chp.click/alert. We acknowledge there may be a level of inconvenience, surprise, and frustration felt by members of our communities when an WEA is issued due to the alert notification. Our hope is that those in the communities where an alert is issued understand these alerts could directly affect them and this information is for their safety or the safety of others.
The Federal Communications Commission’s website contains general information and frequently asked questions about the WEA. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/wireless-emergency-alerts-wea