On Your Side: New program sends text messages about AMBER Alerts - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

On Your Side: New program sends text messages about AMBER Alerts

Source: WBRC video Source: WBRC video
Source: WBRC video Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Did you receive an Amber Alert on your phone this weekend even though you may not have signed up for one?

Ronda Robinson looked into the new Wireless Emergency Alert program, which sent the alert.

Many on social media wondered if the wireless emergency alert was a hoax. It was the real thing.

At about 11:30 p.m. on August 30, an Amber Alert was issued for 9-year-old Rhashud Felix, who according to police, was taken from his mother's home in Fairfield. Fortunately the boy was found unharmed just before 1 a.m. at his grandmother's house in Mobile County.

The Amber Alert program is a partnership between the Department of Justice, law enforcement agencies, broadcasters and transportation agencies.

The new Wireless Emergency Alert program started in January of last year and helps those agencies reach the public.

An urgent bulletin is issued in serious child abduction cases and sent to mobile devices to make sure people are aware of the situation. Authorities hope people will recognize a vehicle or tag number and report what they see.

Here's how it works: FEMA transmits the message to participating wireless providers. Then those providers send the alert to phones in a specific geographic zone.

According to the Department of Justice, there are three kinds of alerts: alerts issued by the President (Presidential Alert), alerts about man-made or natural disasters (Imminent Threat Alerts) and alerts that help search for and locate an abducted child (Amber Alert).

You can check out a list of participating wireless emergency alert carriers at www.ctia.org/wea.

If you want to make sure that you will get future alerts or had trouble getting this most recent alert, check with your cell phone provider.

Mobile users are not charged for receiving these text-like alerts from the Wireless Emergency Alert program.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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