On May 16, 2012 at 1:00PM wireless subscribers across the nation, including the Thumb Cellular service area will receive a test message from FEMA. This will be the first date for monthly testing of this service. A Nationwide required monthly test of the Commercial Mobile Alert System will be conducted the third Wednesday of each month at 1:00PM EST.
Using CMAS, Thumb Cellular will forward alerts from government agencies to individuals’ wireless devices, informing subscribers of public safety and severe weather emergencies. The alerts are designed to help citizens respond appropriately and save lives and property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are implementing CMAS as a result of the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act passed by Congress in 2006.
The test messages will say, “This is a test of the Commercial Mobile Alert System. This is only a test.”
Currently, the models that Thumb Cellular sells with CMAS capabilities are the Motorola Milestone X2 and BlackBerry smartphones with software version 7.1. Any wireless phone with CMAS capabilities will receive the test messages if they are within the testing area regardless of which cellular carrier they have service with.
CMAS provides three types of messages—Presidential (national defense), Imminent Threat (severe weather or public safety emergency), and AMBER (child abduction) alerts. These alerts will be sent free of charge to wireless subscribers in a targeted geographic area corresponding to the scope of the emergency. In the event of an actual emergency, such as a tornado or flood, the alerts will provide information about actions that wireless customers can take to protect themselves and their property.
Subscribers have the option to opt-out of receiving the Imminent Threat Alerts and the Amber Alerts if they do not wish to receive them. This can be done by changing the Emergency Alerts settings in their handset.