Sprint has become the first mobile phone carrier to deliver wireless emergency alerts on its network. The wireless communication provider will begin testing the system, which would deliver emergency notifications to your cell phone via text message, in New York City later this year before rolling out the program nationwide in 2012.
The alerts will come from reputable emergency response personnel, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Weather Service, local emergency operators and the president of the United States. These warnings will be issued based on geo-location data to cell phones residing in the at-risk zones.
There are about 14 smartphone models that are currently compatible with this system. The 90-character alerts would be delivered to smartphones free of charge. They would also be assigned their own ringtone, which will be similar to an emergency alarm, to let the user know that this text contains emergency information.
Such alerts may be sent out for emergencies involving highway accidents, chemical spills, natural disasters, campus threats, suspicious packages and child abductions. No word on whether you’ll be able to customize which types of alerts you receive.