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This is only a test… of the emergency broadcast system (note: click on link only if you want to be annoyed). I am sure everyone remembers this saying along with the loud BLEEPING noise for what seemed like forever (probably 30 seconds).

Back in the day, before my television had a remote control, I would just sit there and listen to whatever the warning system was. Move forward a few years (and by a few I mean 20) and my television had a remote so I could just mute the T.V. or change the channel.

Move forward a few more years (and by a few I mean 10) and now we are in a different “time.” In a conversation I had with Abbie yesterday, I was reminded that we as consumers of media do not watch/listen the way we used to. We are not watching T.V. in real time (Thank goodness for Tivo… and really how did we live without it before?) or listening to the radio in the same way.

From what I understand as of June 16, AT&T added wireless emergency alerts update to iPhones and according to a Phoenix New Times articleWireless emergency alerts began last year in the Phoenix area with just a couple of cell-phone companies and operating systems.” I don’t have AT&T so I am not sure why my iPhone just started getting alerts.  But now twice in one week , around 9 p.m. on Sunday night and at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night my cell phone started going crazy (with a loud annoying BLEEPING noise) to warn me about a possible dust storm?

Sunday was the first time I had ever received such a warning on my cell phone so it caught me off guard- I thought something was really wrong.  But was there? Is this just a case of a “test” or was there something really wrong? I am still not sure. But I am not sure how I feel about getting these alerts on my phone (and yes I now know thanks to the 100 posts made by my friends on Facebook that I can turn them off) without knowing that they were going to be installed. Here in Arizona we don’t have to deal with “natural” disasters the way they do in other parts of the country, so personally I am not sure how necessary these alerts actually are.

I would like to know your thoughts on the wireless alerts- are they a good thing or just an annoyance?

Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
Senior Account Executive Rachel is a native Arizonian, who enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, playing tennis, reading and social media. She’s a busy mom and is passing the idea of volunteerism onto her son. Check out Rachel's Full Bio


  1. Fran says:

    Twice in the last week my Verizon Galaxy Android cell phone howled with emergency notifications about possible dust storms. Verizon has had this “service” for a while now. My first thought was, “Who needs this. It’s just a dust storm. And most likely it won’t actually happen.” The notification was especially annoying because I had to go through 2-3 steps before I could delete it. Thankfully, we don’t have many life-threatening, disastrous emergencies here in Arizona…not like a tornedo alert. So I, too, wondered if this is necessary. And thought about turning off the option…but I didn’t…JIC. ;+)

  2. Jennifer says:

    I like the idea but I think the details need to be refined a bit otherwise people will ignore the alerts. My Aunt in Queen Creek received the same alert at the same time I did sitting in my house near 64th Street & Indian School. Did people in Surprise get the same alert at that same time? We are miles apart and dust storms often miss entire portions of the Valley. With GPS, I’d think they could target the areas a bit better. Also, I’m fairly certain I remember reading the word “evacuate” in the warning. Last thing you want to do in a dust storm is encourage people to get in their cars and drive….

  3. It was created as part of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to meet requirements for an alert system as specified by the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act (Title VI of P.L. 109-347). FEMA worked with the Federal Communications Commission and the wireless industry to create a system that would be able to relay alerts through cell phones.

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