California Mobile Alert System

Despite budget woes, California is stepping up its game and plans to be the first state in the US to offer its citizens an all-state mobile alert system; this means that citizens may soon receive timely notifications in the case of wildfires, hurricanes, school shootings and other emergency situations in their mobile phones. The network, deemed the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), will begin a pilot program this fall in San Diego County in partnership with the county's Office of Emergency Services. The CMAS technology works much like the emergency alerts broadcast on television or through land line phones. But the main difference is that emergency text messages will be sent to mobile phones in a defined geographic area, which could be as large as a county or city or as small as a few blocks.

CMAS is part of the larger national effort by the FCC to to provide emergency information from federal, state and local officials about natural disasters, terrorist threats and other potential dangers.