Officials to use phone emergency alerts despite limitations

- Right before 8 a.m. September 19, New Yorkers' cell phones all went off. It was an emergency alert. The message read "Wanted: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen." The text was asking for the public's help in finding Chelsea bombing suspect.

Since 2012, the U.S. has been using wireless emergency alerts by sending texts to phones in specific areas. We've received the traditional alerts weather, amber and even warning people to "shelter in place" during a terrorist attack, like the Boston bombing in 2013.

But the one sent two days after the bombings in New Jersey and Chelsea was the first time it was used to find a suspected criminal.

Mashable Chief Correspondent Lance Ulanoff says even though the alert was effective it was a bit confusing because it didn't contain a photo or a link to a photo. He says it was a digital wanted poster.

Authorities are realizing that technology is key in today's society. Officials say the wireless emergency alert on September 19 was successful and the tool will be used again in the future.

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