Emergency Public Information: Time for a National Discussion

On May 9, 2013, in Emergency Alert System, by with Remote Possibilities / Broadcast Warning Working Group

Initial feedback from the Greater Boston area was that no Shelter-In-Place (SPW) warnings were issued using EAS. We do know that social media and illuminated road signs and other means were used to get the word out, so why not EAS? We also know an SPW went out to cell phones using Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), as noted here on AWARE.

If these early reports are verified, this is clear case when all possible warning systems, including the EAS, should have been employed to warn the Greater Boston public to Shelter-In-Place. The timing of the event should have led to a regional and event-specific EAS SPW that would have asked commuters outside the city to not drive or commute into the affected area. Continue reading »

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We’ve been remiss in posting new articles lately, but we could not let too much time pass without commenting on the use of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system in Boston in the days after the marathon bombing. As our friend Rick Wimberly discusses on the Alerts and Notifications blog, Massachusetts state officials sent a WEA message as one way of notifying residents of Boston and its suburbs to shelter in place during the manhunt for the suspects. Continue reading »

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State Promotes AMBER Alert WEA Use

On March 21, 2013, in CMAS & Mobile Alerts, by with SRA International

As mentioned here on AWARE, changes were made in the past few months in the way abducted-child AMBER Alerts are delivered to cell phones and other mobile devices.  The previous Wireless AMBER Alert Program SMS-based alerts were replaced by the new Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system.  With 700,000 people having been subscribed to the previous program, a huge awareness campaign is needed to advise the public of the switch to WEA.  At least one state has taken a very proactive approach on its outreach. Continue reading »

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Almost a year has passed since the roll-out of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA, previously known as the Commercial Mobile Alert Service, or CMAS). In this time, public safety officials (primarily the National Weather Service) have sent about 3,000 WEA messages to mobile devices. News stories on this new capability are becoming more commonplace, and more WEA-capable mobile devices are coming online. You may have even received a WEA message on your device by now.

Unfortunately, some message recipients have responded to these messages by looking for a way to turn them off—presumably because they do not perceive the alerts to be relevant to them or their local area. They then take to their phone looking for the settings menu where they can opt out of the alerts.
Continue reading »

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FCC Says CMAS is now WEA

On February 26, 2013, in CMAS & Mobile Alerts, by with SRA International

WEAYesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Order DA 13-280, stating that the Commission is revising its Part 10 rules by changing the name Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) to Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).  These are the wireless alert system technical rules governing the participating cellular wireless carriers, which the FCC calls Commercial Mobile Service Providers (CMSPs).  This change is effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Continue reading »

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