The national emergency alert system will now be sending the public text messages during disasters. The Wall Street Journal reports:
After more than five years of planning, a national emergency alert system that will send messages to cell phones during disasters is set to launch in New York City and Washington by the end of year.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said Monday the Commercial Mobile Alert System, which will be formally announced at a meeting in New York on Tuesday, will direct emergency messages to cell phones in case of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other serious emergencies.
The alert plan was approved by Congress in 2006 under the Warning Alert and Response Network Act.
Reaching people in the midst of disasters such as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when cell phone networks were overwhelmed or otherwise out of service, has been an ongoing concern for emergency personnel around the country.