It happens after so many disasters: questions about the performance of emergency alert systems. Victims often complain that alerts came too late or not at all. In California’s catastrophic Camp Fire, the Cal OES State and Fire rescue chief told WNCT, “We need a communications system, not just alert and warning, that is resilient and reliable for not only the public but for us in public service.”
Responding to fears of an imminent Soviet nuclear attack, in 1951 Pres. Harry Truman set up a national system enabling the president to quickly notify the public of an impending national security threat via a cross-country relay chain of AM radio stations. It used characteristic blaring warning tones and became a precursor of the Emergency Alert System still in use today. “There are certain stations across every market that listen for those tones and then retransmit the alert to other stations in their market,” says John Lawson, an emergency alert expert who has advised the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its modern warning systems.
At 2:18 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, cellphones across the United States emitted the ominous ring of an emergency presidential alert. It was the first nationwide test of a wireless emergency alert system, designed to warn people of a dire threat, like a terror attack, pandemic or natural disaster.
COWS and COLTS and Goats, oh my! No Dorothy, this isn’t Oz. It’s the Carolinas and Georgia as Hurricane Florence bore down on its way to landfall. An interesting article by Angela Moscaritolo in PC Magazine online, “How Mobile Carriers Are Responding to Hurricane Florence,” described the steps carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were taking to prepare for the aftermath of the hurricane.
Advanced emergency warning is on the way thanks to a 3.0 commitment from major broadcasters. Call it coincidence. Call it synchronicity. Call it whatever you want, but today three items crossed my desk that left me shaking my head. First, Reuters’ Brian Snyder reported in “Lack of power, phones hampering rescue efforts after Hurricane Michael,” that hundreds of volunteers from Texas had headed to Florida to help locate more than 1,100 people—mostly in Panama City— who have gone missing following Hurricane Michael.
Landmark International Agreement to be Signed LAS VEGAS, April 5, 2018 – At the 2018 NAB Show in Las Vegas, April 7 - 12, the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance is showcasing the power of ATSC 3.0 over-the-air…
Trilithic Inc. (which recently became a part of VIAVI Solutions) is joining broadcasters, public safety agencies and other technology companies to develop and deploy the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN), which utilizes the capabilities enabled by Next Generation Television. The goal of the AWARN Alliance is to create the most advanced emergency alerting system in the world.
WASHINGTON, December 6, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has joined other public safety organizations in an advisory committee for the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN). Based on the Next Generation…
After last week’s 3-2 FCC vote authorizing voluntary deployment of ATSC 3.0 the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance is “finalizing our work plan for 2018, which includes a technical development component” for 3.0-capable emergency alerts, alliance Executive Director John Lawson told us. The goal is to have an AWARN “beta solution” in place by early 2019 so it can be available for stations that launch 3.0 broadcasts beginning in 2019, said Lawson.
“The Commission’s vote today lays the ground work for major improvements in America’s emergency alerting system. The Northern California wildfires, hurricane devastation in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the Las Vegas mass murders, the Houston floods, the Gatlinburg wildfires – these disasters provide more depressing examples that our current alerting systems are not adequate for protecting people and property.