FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. The WEA portion of the test, which will be sent to consumer cell phones, will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT. The EAS portion of the test, which will be sent to radio and television, will follow at 2:20 p.m. EDT. This will be the fourth nationwide EAS test and the first nationwide WEA test.
Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)
The purpose of this Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Report on Alerting Tactics (Report) is to provide recommendations on effective combinations of alerting tactics for various incident types based upon lessons learned from practitioners.
FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), postponed the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) until October 3 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Continuity Programs Directorate Office of Continuity Communications Director Antwane Johnson addresses the importance of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), how the system was used during the events of January 13, 2018, and the steps FEMA is taking to improve the system.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Office of Continuity Communications Director Antwane Johnson addresses the importance of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), how it is used to save lives across the country, and the future of the IPAWS program.
Since 2012, S&T has funded academic research to improve the WEA technology focused on how the public responds to alerts and warnings, and enhancement of WEA’s geo-targeting capabilities.
A significant long-standing challenge for imminent threat alert originators (AOs) at all levels of government is how to quickly communicate warning messages to people in danger, while avoiding to warn those not at risk. Providing effective warnings of an imminent threat, such as a dangerous tornado, can save lives. Ideally, people can take shelter before the tornado strikes if they are provided enough warning time.
Effective alerts and warnings during a disaster protects people and saves lives. Over the past decade, mobile communication technologies have become ubiquitous. Disaster and emergency messages sent directly to end users has emerged as a promising new practice. In particular, short message service (SMS) text message formats have emerged as a modality that is both practical and popular as the majority of Americans now use smartphones. In regards to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wireless emergency alerts (WEAs), these messages are pushed out through commercial mobile carriers to customers who are located geographically near the hazard, and newer smartphones are ‘WEA enabled.’
With increased risk and financial impacts from different hazards in recent years, building community resilience through public and private stakeholder participation has become a priority for researchers and policy makers (Cutter et al. 2008; NRC 2012). Risk communication has been identified as a crucial component of community resilience-building efforts, and a precursor to undertaking disaster risk reduction initiatives during different phases of emergency management (Mileti and Peek 2002; Morgan et al. 2002; Hooke and Rogers 2005; Fischhoff 2009). The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015―2030, a recent United Nation’s initiative to build resilience and a successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005―2015, has also identified the need to develop, maintain and strengthen a multi-hazard, multi-cultural and people-centered forecasting and early warning system for disaster risk communication (UN 2015).
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) envisions a future where all Americans are able to receive accurate alerts and warnings, regardless of communications technology used. This vision is being achieved through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). IPAWS is a modernization of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure, integrating new and existing public alert and warning systems and technologies. In partnership with DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), IPAWS is working to incorporate alerts to mobile devices through Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), formerly known as the Commercial Mobile Alert Service. This inclusion is an acknowledgement of the important role wireless technologies play in Americans’ lives today. Given the wide use of wireless mobile devices, WEA ensures more people can receive actionable alerts to help avoid danger or respond more quickly during crises—thereby saving lives and property.