The Wireless Emergency Alert system deployed by cell phone providers last year sends now sends such messages to smartphones.
When Denise Hernandez, a 2-year-old Immokalee girl went missing Monday morning from her home, authorities in Collier County rang the alarm -- literally.
Within minutes, thousands got the news of her disappearance in the middle of the night. At 1:42 a.m., phones alarmed with a message that read "An AMBER Alert has been issued in your area, please check local media,"
Fortunately the toddler was found safe in a field near her home within a few hours.
By Monday morning, hundreds of people went to Facebook and posted their comments about receiving the alert on their phone. Although majority of smartphone users received the alert, some did not.
So why didn't everyone get the text message? It appears that the majority were AT&T customers where the Emergency Alert page isn't supported on their iPhone. To subscribe, customers have to have the iOS 6 operating system, and in settings on the notifications page, users need to scroll to the bottom and turn it on.
For more information about participating providers and how to turn the alerts on and off, visit FCC.gov/guides/commercial-mobile-alert-system-cmas. Alerts are also available via email from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. CLICK HERE for more information on Google Public Alerts.