Wireless Emergency Alerts Used in Boston Bombings
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency used FEMA's WEA system to issue shelter-in-place alerts during the manhunt for the surviving Marathon bomber. The term "phone sirens" started spreading on social media.
Many of you have been asking if the new cell broadcast alert system, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), were used in Boston. The answer: Yes.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is among the state agencies across the nation with ability and authority to issue imminent threat WEA messages through the system. On April 19th, the day the shelter-in-place order was issue, MEMA tweeted:
It wasn't long after that when a number of Boston residents started spreading the word about the WEA messages by tweeting. The term "phone sirens" seemed to catch on around the web. This is not a bad description. That's exactly what the WEA messages are intended to do, sound a siren to alert people to pay attention and get more information elsewhere. In this case, it was issued when authorities were going door-to-door looking for the bombing suspect - a perfect example of "imminent threat", one of the three types of WEA messages. (Presidential messages and AMBER Alerts are the other two.)
Thank goodness MEMA was one of the local and state public safety organizations that had signed up to be able to issue alerts through WEA and other alerting methods offered through FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Those who haven't gone through the simple four-step process should seriously consider doing so. If you need help with the process, contact Galain at rick.wimberly at galainsolutions.com. We'll be glad to help (at no charge).
All the best,