Wireless Emergency Alerts

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), also known as Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) or Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN), is a national emergency alert system to send concise, text-like messages to WEA capable mobile devices.

There are three different kinds of alerts:

  1. Presidential Alerts – Alerts issued by the President or a designee;
  2. Imminent Threat Alerts – Alerts that include severe man-made or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., where an imminent threat to life or property exists; and


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3.  AMBER Alerts – Alerts that meet the U.S. Department of Justice’s criteria to help law enforcement search for and locate an abducted child.

These messages are not UT Alerts and not issued or controlled by the university.

National alerts are location-based at the county level and sent to WEA capable smartphones through wireless carriers.  We monitor a small geographic area around campus when determining whether to send a UT Alert message.  This means you may receive a NWS message about severe weather in Knox County, but not a UT Alert message if campus is not affected.

Most new smartphones are capable of receiving these alerts.  New phones come with this feature enabled and the user has to change the settings to stop receiving them.  You can learn more about these alerts here.

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