If you didn’t receive the emergency alert Saturday on your phone, you’re not alone.  While many across the state received the warning, others didn't find out about the scare until that evening.

University of Hawaii technology expert Brian Chee, says more than 100 wireless carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint volunteer to participate in the Wireless Emergency Alerts Program.

“Authorized government agencies like the Emergency Management Agency, HPD and so forth, are allowed to send a request to Federal Emergency Management Agency’s computers. FEMA will then distribute it all out to the carriers.” Chee explained.

The carriers then broadcast the messages via cell towers to mobile devices in a specified area.  Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message.

Wireless Emergency Alert capabilities first became available in 2012, so most mobile phones made before then don’t have software requirements to receive the notifications.

If a phone is capable of receiving an emergency alert and is located in the threat area, but still didn’t receive an alert, Chee says it’s likely that the phone’s emergency alert settings were manually disabled.

For frequently asked questions about Wireless Emergency Alerts, click here

For more information on WEA's for iPhones, click here