In December 2012, changes were made in the way abducted-child AMBER Alerts are delivered to cell phones and other mobile devices. In mid-December, AMBER Alert distribution began through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS). As part of this change, alerts delivered via the long-established Wireless AMBER Alert Program were ended on December 31, 2012. But should this move have been made at this time? Continue reading »
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Emergency Alert System (EAS) Notice of Inquiry (NOI) proposed rule changes that included a call for requiring broadcasters and cable operators to carry local and state emergency warnings. This provision is commonly referred to as “Governor Must Carry” (GMC). Currently, the only mandatory EAS messages in the FCC’s rules are those issued by the President.
One reason GMC was put into that NOI was because of complaints that governors were not using the EAS to tell traffic fleeing from events like Hurricane Ike that all highways were converted to head north. Another reason: In Texas, instead of using EAS for the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the governor convened a news conference where reporters asked if AMBER (Child Abduction) alerts could be used to warn people about touching pieces of the fallen shuttle. Other instances of failures to originate proper warnings, or misuse of proper warning protocols are in the record.
Google Public Alerts and Its Features Out of the Box
You may recall that on January 25, 2012, the Google Crisis Response (GCR) team at Google.org launched the Google Public Alerts (GPA) platform. GPA aggregates weather, public safety, and earthquake alerts from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service (NWS), and the US Geological Survey (USGS) and displays the alerts on Google Maps Figure 1. Continue reading »
The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) today announced that it will conduct a test of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS, also known as the Personal Localized Alerting Network or Wireless Emergency Alerts) with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, and Federal Communications Commission this Thursday, December 15th.
According to the press release (full text below this post), wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon will participate in the test, in which OEM will send six test messages to test mobile devices across New York City between 10am and 3pm on Thursday. Continue reading »