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Hickenlooper Cheers Improvements to Wireless Emergency Alert System

Nov 2, 2023

Hickenlooper has advocated for changes since devastating 2021 Marshall Fire

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S Senator John Hickenlooper celebrated the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent adoption of a rule to make the federal emergency alert system more reliable and trustworthy. The rule, titled the Improving Public Reporting on Wireless Emergency Alert Reliability, directs the FCC to take steps to ensure life-saving wireless emergency alerts (WEAs) are promptly delivered to cellular devices during emergencies and natural disasters.

The improvements come in the face of increasing concerns about the accuracy of the WEA system. During the 2021 Marshall Fire, Boulder County and other municipalities avoided using WEA due to inconsistencies in the delivery of alerts during emergency scenarios. 

“Boulder County was blindsided by the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history,” said Hickenlooper. “These improvements will give people precious time to protect their families, homes, and businesses during emergencies.” 

The FCC’s improvements to the Wireless Emergency Alert system will:

  1. Maps: Enable Coloradans to receive WEA messages with location-aware maps so individuals can understand the proximity of a danger to their location;
  2. Tests: Support WEA Performance & Public Awareness Testing to allow alerting authorities to ensure WEA alerts function as intended and boost reliability for first responders and consumers.
  3. Transparency: Require participating wireless carriers to clearly disclose to first responders the geographic areas where WEA is and is not available within their communities.

In April 2022, Senator Hickenlooper sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to improve WEA through the rule change. 


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