A new nationwide commercial mobile alert system is slated to become operational later this month.
The system will allow cell phone users to get important, pop-up alert messages on their smart phone.
Currently, it is only the smart-phones manufactured with the latest technology that are capable of receiving the alerts.
Emergency weather, presidential, homeland security, and amber alerts will be relayed.
Scott Truett with the National Weather Service explained, "As people replace their old phones and buy newer models, those newer models will be emergency message alert capable. I have been receiving test messages for several months already on my phone."
The new system compliments the existing emergency alert system via TV and radio.
Customers of participating wireless carriers who own a c-m-a-s capable phone don't have to sign up... they're automatically enrolled.
The system is free of charge and has an opt out setting for all alerts except the presidential ones.
Officials hope to get the system working on currently compatible phones within the next couple of weeks.
Over time, cell phone carriers and manufacturers will integrate the alert system into all phones.