New and old cell phones alike will soon be able to receive alerts from the government in times of emergency with a new program that was announced by the US government on Tuesday. Similar to the Emergency Broadcast Systems on television, the new Emergency Alert System will be able to send information to anyone with a cell phone instantaneously.
“I think it’s pretty interesting,” says Tampa resident Nancy Muggelberg, who is keen on the idea. “It’s a great concept. I don’t know how practical it is, but it’s a great idea.” Companies such as AT & T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all taking part in the program, which will simply require the cell phone towers that cover the area being affected by any emergency situation. The announcement was made at the site of the World Trade Center.
Mayor Bloomberg of New York City says that the system, which is free to all users, is designed to get emergency information out to people in as fast a way as possible in a time of crisis. “And if people need to take action, the system will tell them what to do”, Bloomberg adds. “This can save countless lives.”
Cell phone user Sheila Ivey agrees. “I think you need to know if there’s a national security issue,” she says. “Regardless, if you’re not in front of a TV or computer, you need to know.”