Wireless Emergency Alerts

CMAS Alerts

CMAS Mobile Alerts

Illinois Valley Cellular has joined forces with the FCC and FEMA to offer Wireless Emergency Alerts on capable mobile devices, free of charge, in all of our coverage areas by April 2012.

Wireless Emergency Alerts, also called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), is a new national public safety system that allows customers with CMAS-capable mobile devices to receive geographically-targeted notifications of emergency situations, such as a weather event, a hazardous material spill or a missing child, in their area.

There are three types of Wireless Emergency Alerts:

  • Presidential
  • Imminent Threat (categorized as Extreme & Severe)
  • AMBER Alert

Customers with CMAS-capable mobile devices will automatically receive these alerts and may choose to turn off all alerts except Presidential alerts.

CMAS uses a unique signal and vibration to attract attention; however, Wireless Emergency Alerts will not preempt calls or data sessions in progress.

The 90-character text-like alerts will be broadcast simultaneously to CMAS-capable mobile devices, similar to the way emergency alerts are broadcast over radio and television today. With Wireless Emergency Alerts, we can now reach our customers wherever they are.

How Does it Work

Customers need a Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS)-capable mobile device in order to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts. Illinois Valley Cellular’s network will be able to broadcast Wireless Emergency Alerts by the official launch on April 7, 2012. At that time, FEMA will serve as the aggregator to relay emergency alerts from authorized government agencies (including national, state or local officials).

Alerts are geographically targeted; customers with a CMAS-capable mobile device in an area where an alert has been sent will have the ability to receive the alert. Wireless Emergency Alerts are up to 90 characters in length and will contain:

  • What is happening
  • What area is affected
  • When the alert will expire
  • What action should be taken
  • Who is sending the alert

When an alert is sent customers will receive a unique signal and vibration. Similar to a text message, the alert will be stored in the phone’s messaging menu until deleted.

There is no charge for Wireless Emergency Alerts. These alerts do not impact voice, text, or data usage.

Customers with CMAS-capable mobile devices may turn off the Imminent Threat (Extreme & Severe) and/or AMBER alerts; Presidential alerts cannot be turned off.


*Illinois Valley Cellular does not guarantee alert delivery or timeliness. IVC is not responsible for content of alerts. Delivery of alerts is best-effort and may not be received in weak signal areas.

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