FCC Blue Alert warns mobile users of threats to law enforcement

The Federal Communications Commission has expanded the US's emergency alert systems by adding a new alert option dubbed Blue Alert. With Blue Alert, both local and state-level authorities can push out notifications that warn the public to "threats to law enforcement." In explaining this, the FCC says the authorities are able to push out Blue Alerts across a variety of devices, including cell phones/smartphones, satellite, cable, and through broadcast providers.

You've likely at times received alerts on your phone related to missing children or severe weather; Blue Alert is similar in that the alert can be sent out to everyone in the applicable region if authorities choose to use it.

Rather than warning of a potential kidnapping or tornado, though, Blue Alert lets the public know things related to threats to law enforcement. Blue Alerts can be sent out when an officer is killed or seriously injured, or if authorities have credible knowledge that there's a violent individual on the loose who poses a threat to officers.

The public can receive alerts warning if a violent individual is located in their community, advising them to stay safe, keep an eye out, and contact authorities if the individual is spotted. The FCC explains that it has created a dedicated Blue Alert event code, enabling agencies to send out the notices using the Emergency Alert System and the Wireless Emergency Alert system.

Under the new Order that establishes this code, the FCC has established a 12-month implementation period for the Emergency Alert System to deliver Blue Alerts, as well as a longer 18-month period for the Wireless Emergency Alert system.