Optimizing Accessibility of Wireless Emergency Alerts: 2015 Survey Findings

Date of Publication: 
2016 June

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system is a free, opt-out, national emergency alerting service that was deployed in 2012 as one component of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems (IPAWS). Since 2012 over 10,000 WEA messages have been transmitted to mobile phones in the U.S. In 2015, a national online survey on WEAs (2015 WEA Survey) was conducted to understand the effectiveness of WEA messages for people with disabilities. The survey collected data on availability, awareness and accessibility of WEA messages, as well as actions taken by the recipient upon receipt. The survey also takes into consideration the type of mobile device used by the respondents. Project researchers hypothesized that greater awareness and exposure to WEA alerts would increase trust and appropriateness of individual responses to alerts. The analysis of the survey data supports the hypothesis. The 2015 WEA national online survey results provided policy and practice insights to improve the intended impact of WEA messages for people with disabilities. 


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