The Federal Communications Commission has released new rules for the Wireless Emergency Alerts mobile warning system in an effort to promote its use to state and local authorities.
FCC said Thursday it worked on WEA’s message content and reach and implemented a testing program for the platform in effort to bolster is performance.
The new rules sought to extend the maximum length of WEA messages to 360 characters, create a new alert for essential and recommended actions and simplify testing of the system and personnel training.
The updates also require wireless providers to allow transmission of alerts in Spanish, convey alerts to more granular geographic areas and include embedded phone numbers and URLs in WEA alerts to facilitate easy access to photos or calls to authorities.
FCC said it also seeks input on future plans including consumer education, the use of thumbnail photos and symbols for WEA and multilingual options for the alerts other than Spanish.
WEA is designed to provide communities with information on severe weather, missing children and other emergencies via mobile alerts.