Did you know you received automatic AMBER Alerts on your phone?

Posted at 1:32 PM, Feb 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-19 14:26:27-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – An AMBER Alert issued for five-year-old Amiyah Monet Dallas around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday was hard for smart phone users to ignore.

The text message, accompanied by an audible alert, automatically popped up on the home screens of phones.


The AMBER Alert was part of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), a system of nationwide emergency texts.

The alerts are sent out by authorized government authorities at the local and state levels.

Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions posted on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.

1. What are WEA messages?

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service.

2. Why is this important to me?

Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA, alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without need to download an app or subscribe to a service.

3. What types of alerts will I receive?

  • Extreme weather warnings
  • Local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action
  • AMBER Alerts
  • Presidential Alerts during a national emergency

4. What does a WEA message look like?

WEA will look like a text message. The WEA message will typically show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters.

Cell phone users may opt out of WEA messages regarding AMBER Alerts and imminent threats, but not Presidential Alerts.

Wednesday’s alert was cancelled less than an hour after it was sent when the Orange County child was found by a Virginia Police State Trooper in Accomack County.

See the reactions to the AMBER Alert notification on Twitter below.