Emergency alert texts to come next year

As the world is continually bombarded with disasters–weather natural or not–the government is working to upgrade its national alert system to ensure a higher percentage of the population gets alerted. Plans are in motion to send texts messages in the case of national or regional emergencies, known as the Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN).

This change comes because trends suggest that people are less likely to have TVs turned on–if someone even owns a TV–to a local channel (where national alerts air) than in previous years. So government and state agencies have to resort to something else. And what communication device do more than of 80% of Americans have? A cell phone.

So we’re going to get (free!) text messages of three sorts: presidential alerts, those involving imminent life threats, and Amber alerts for missing children. The messages will be send as “top priority” and will be moved immediately to the top of our inboxes. Users will be allowed to block all but the presidential alerts through their phone plan. The alerts will be introduced in New York City and Washington, D.C. by the end of this year and to the rest of the country in mid-2012.

As our lives move to personal devices, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Let’s just hope these alerts come few and far between!

Source: PC Mag

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