FCC Bureau Issues Nationwide EAS Test Report

On April 15, 2013, in News, by with SRA International

EAS Logo - image by San Diego Emergency Alert System

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) has finally released a report on the November, 2011 national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), entitled, “Strengthening the EAS: Lessons Learned from the Nationwide EAS Test”.  While the report doesn’t reveal any great revelations on the test results that weren’t already generally known, the more important content is the action that PSHSB recommends the Commission take to improve the EAS. Continue reading »


Tips on Acquiring and Using FEMA IPAWS Alert Origination Systems

On February 21, 2013, in IPAWS, News, by with SRA International
The FEMA test laboratory at the Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) - photo courtesy of FEMA

The FEMA test laboratory at the Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) – photo courtesy of FEMA

FEMA recently held a webinar giving the latest details on its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), as well as tips for local alert originators on acquiring and using IPAWS alert origination systems.  The session also offered an update on the forthcoming alert originator test lab detailed in December here on AWARE. Continue reading »

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We saw this announcement that the National Academies of Science will be hosting a workshop “to examine current knowledge and research on geotargeted disaster alerts and warnings” in Washington, DC, February 21-22. According to the posting by the National Academies’ Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, the workshop will bring together prominent researchers in risk communications, public notifications, and emergency management to discuss how more precise geo-targeting could make alerts and warnings more effective. Continue reading »

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FCC Bureau Scrutinizes Nation’s Wireless Infrastructure

On February 4, 2013, in News, by with SRA International

FCC-LogoAs noted last October here on AWARE, one of the priorities of incoming FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) Chief David Turetsky was to investigate the communications outages that occurred during the June 2012 derecho event.  The FCC has now released a PSHSB report on the impacts of the storm and recommendations for improvements to the nation’s communications systems. Continue reading »

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As the recent Hurricane-Sandy-related storms have shown, wireless communications systems are vulnerable and frequently cell phone service is knocked out during major weather events. In a previous story here on AWARE last summer, we noted that having an FM radio receiver in all cellular handsets would provide a means to receive emergency information that comes directly from the broadcast station towers and does not depend on the vulnerable cellular networks. In the article, we explored why FM is currently lacking on U.S. wireless devices and highlighted the ongoing campaign of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) advocating for wireless carriers to provide FM chips in handsets. The work of broadcasters has apparently paid off, as Sprint announced this week that it would indeed begin activating FM in many of its smart phones. Even more encouraging is that the press release hints of interactive aspects to this FM tuner application, making it more than just a mere radio receiver.

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