FCC approves emergency alert system

The Federal Communications Commission approved an emergency alert system yesterday that will use text messages to notify Americans of emergencies.

The Federal Communications Commission approved an emergency alert system yesterday that will use text messages to notify Americans of emergencies.

A yet-to-be determined federal agency will create the messages and pass them on to participating cell phone providers, which are likely to include Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile, CNN.com reports.

Alerts regarding terrorist attacks and other disasters that jeopardize the health and safety of Americans will be sent by the US president. Two other types of events that will warrant messages are Amber alerts, and imminent or ongoing threats such as a hurricane or earthquake.

According to the current plan, uninterested cell phone subscribers will have the option to opt-out of the messages. The plan could be in effect by 2010, the Associated Press reports.

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