Do you have FM in your cellphone?

On July 13, 2012, in CMAS & Mobile Alerts, General, News, by with SRA International

A lot of us don’t give having an FM radio receiver in our mobile device a second thought, but for those caught up in the recent storms and ensuing power outages having FM available in their cellphones could have been a lifeline. So says the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which has been advocating for FM in mobile devices for years.

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The past week has seen a number of devastating tornadoes cause widespread destruction across the Midwestern and Southern U.S. The storms between February 29 and March 5 have claimed the lives of at least 50 people and caused massive loss of property. The tornadoes were many and widespread: the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center received 81 reports of tornadoes on Friday, March 2–just shy of the average number of tornadoes the nation sees in the entire month of March (87).

As cleanup efforts continue, much of the discussion around these storms has turned to the alert and warning systems in the various areas stricken: how well did they work, how did they impact the public’s actions, and what could be improved next time. Of course, the effectiveness of these systems will vary from county to county, and the final analysis is not yet in in many places. But there are a few interesting stories to note in how alerting systems performed during this punishing stretch. Continue reading »

When Seconds Count: The Challenge of Slow Social Media Alerts

On December 1, 2011, in Social Media, by with Altus Emergency Management

As readers will know, I have been a huge fan of social media when it is used as part of a plan in part of the toolbox (I most recently talked about it here). As a stand-alone tool, it has shown value and failure.

A 2009 study from Germany, titled A Measurement-driven Analysis of Information Propagation in the Flickr Social Networktraces messages as they “propagate” around the Internet. Continue reading »

While vacationing with her family at the beach this summer, one of our AWARE editors experienced first-hand a prime situation in which alerts to mobile devices–like those that will be enabled by the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS)–will be critical. But with a goal of reaching as many members of the public as possible, the limitations of CMAS were equally as evident. Continue reading »

During the month of September, AWARE will be hosting a series of posts from guest authors highlighting the five most significant innovations in the field of alerts and warnings in the past decade since 9/11. In this post, Courtney Cunningham, Senior Associate for the Lafayette Group and a former external affairs officer for Chatham County, Georgia, discusses the significance of local emergency notification systems. 

In a post 9-11 world, emergency notification systems have become a popular technological advancement for emergency response personnel to communicate with the public. The last decade has seen an insurgence of developers offering low-cost solutions to reach every resident within a specific jurisdiction. But do these systems truly work and are they reaching the specific populations that need the emergency information most? Continue reading »