How to receive emergency text alerts

Posted on by Caroline SiƱel in GSM/SMS Technology, SMS in Government



Do you want to how to receive emergency text alerts on your mobile phone? Ever wonder how they work?

In the Philippines, we have this Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS) which is designed to send emergency alerts and warnings to mobile devices via cell broadcast services (CBS). This is currently being operated by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) with the help of local telecommunication companies as they are required to do so in compliance with Republic Act 10639, also known as the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act. This law was created to alert the citizens thru mobile phone of any upcoming disasters and calamities nearby.

Originally, NDRRMC is using CBS instead of SMS for sending out information. CBS messages contains localized emergency alerts that are flashed on the screen together with a warning sound. The messages are initially crafted by NDRRMC using a computer then chooses the target location where the messages will be sent. ECBS was first tested on Jan 2017 by local telecommunication companies. Then, it was finally launched on Mar 2017 by NDRRMC and Smart Communications.

Sending messages thru CBS is faster compared to SMS because it has its own dedicated broadcast channel, meaning it can still send alerts even when the network receives heavy traffic and messages are sent to the whole area at the same time.

Even though sending messages thru CBS is faster, not all mobile phones have CBS feature turned on that’s why NDRRMC also started sending alerts thru SMS. But with SMS, it could take hours. Because messages are sent to cellphone numbers one by one and they also need to have a list of cellphone numbers in a particular area. Just to be sure, NDRRMC are now using both CBS and SMS to send emergency alerts.

If you want to receive emergency text alerts on your mobile phone, make sure to have CBS feature turned on in order to receive alerts faster.

To activate CBS messages in Android:
Settings > Notifications > Advanced Settings > Wireless emergency alerts

To activate CBS messages in IOS:
Settings > Notifications > Emergency Alerts
[Source: Wikipedia, Rappler, GMA Network]


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