Wireless Emergency Alerts

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are part of a national public safety system that allows customers with WEA-capable mobile devices to receive notifications of local emergency situations.

U.S Cellular is proud to continue offering WEA at no additional charge to its customers throughout its service areas and beyond, via roaming arrangements with other wireless carriers.

Your phone must be WEA-capable and powered on to receive an alert. WEA have a unique sound and vibration so that all recipients, including those with disabilities, receive notification of the situation.

There are four types of Wireless Emergency Alerts:
  • Presidential Alerts — Issued by the U.S. President or a designee as a nationwide alert during national emergency events only.
  • Imminent Threat Alerts — Issued by National Weather Service (NWS) and Public Safety officials during severe natural or man-made disasters in which an imminent threat to life or property exists (e.g., tornadoes or dangerous flooding).
  • AMBER or BLUE Alerts — The former are issued by law enforcement as part of the search for a missing or abducted child, while the latter alerts in situations where a law enforcement officer may be in danger.
  • Public Safety Alerts — Issued by authorized Emergency Managers as an essential public safety advisory. These alert types may include Public Safety advisory messages such as "shelter in place" or "boil water" warnings.

Timeline of WEA Feature Enhancements*

U.S. Cellular wants to make customers aware of important improvements they may see to the WEA system.

Starting May 1, 2019, WEA messages may include enhanced functionality. This functionality can include extended message length (up to 360 characters), Spanish language alerts, and Public Safety Messages with supplemental instructions for protecting life or property during the emergency situation.

Starting November 30, 2019, some WEA messages may be delivered in a more geographically precise manner in order to alert the communities impacted by an emergency without alarming or disturbing other areas.

Phones compatible with enhanced WEA functionality include the following:

Manufacturer Current Devices
Apple
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6/6+
  • iPhone 6s/6s+
  • iPhone 7/7+
  • iPhone 8/8+/X
  • iPhone XS/XS Max/XR
Google
  • Pixel 3A
  • Pixel 3A XL
LG
  • G7 ThinQ
  • G8 ThinQ
  • K40
  • K8s
  • K8 Plus
  • Stylo 4
  • V40 ThinQ
Motorola
  • Z3 Play
  • G6 Play
  • G7 Play
Nuu Mobile
  • A6LC
Samsung
  • Galaxy GS10e/GS10/GS10+
  • Galaxy GS9/GS9+
  • Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy J3 Aura
  • Galaxy J7 Aura

If you do not see your device listed, it may not support the WEA enhanced functionality features. Please note however, that your device, if already WEA-compatible, will continue to support its current WEA capabilities and receive emergency alerts.

Emergency Preparedness Tips for You and Your Family

Disaster can strike at any time, which is why U.S. Cellular wants to provide its customers with helpful emergency preparedness tips. Learn how to help keep you and your loved ones safe, connected and informed in the event of an emergency.

View tips for emergency preparedness (English) View tips for emergency preparedness (Spanish)

Related Articles and Websites

*Enhanced alerting capabilities are dependent upon FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) infrastructure readiness. IPAWS enhanced readiness is not anticipated until on or after June 10, 2019, impacting the delivery of WEA feature enhancements.

Things we want you to know: U.S. Cellular does not guarantee alert delivery or timeliness. U.S. Cellular is not responsible for content of alerts. Delivery of alerts is considered "best-effort" and alerts may not be received in weak signal areas.