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Wildland Urban Interface Emergency Alerting

Reliable emergency alerting remains an essential tool for all emergency hazard responses in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). This is why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are leveraging industry partners and state and local first responders to develop new methods for putting emergency alerts into technologies like mapping and navigation applications during emergencies. The goal of this work is to expand the delivery of emergency alerts beyond Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alerting System (EAS), to reach people on mobile apps and in their vehicles. These capabilities not only provide enhanced alerts to an increasingly mobile and digitally-oriented public, but also help people make informed navigation decisions during all-hazards events.

WUI Alert System in car

The WUI Phase One Demonstration, held in August 2022, established the benefits of expanding integrations with the FEMA IPAWS system for enhancing alerting capabilities. To enjoy greater success in this area, FEMA and S&T could consider research into additional integration partners, such as streaming services, satellite radio, translation services, and automated systems. These new integrations will need diverse messages to effectively reach the intended populations.

The WUI Phase Two Demonstration, was conducted on June 27, 2023, in Stafford, VA. The demonstration underscored the urgency for expanding integrations with the FEMA IPAWS system to enhance alerting capabilities. By showing how unattended sensors in the field can be used as alert originators, this demo emphasized the way communities plan and respond to emergencies.

During the WUI Phase Two Demonstration, DHS S&T and FEMA IPAWS showcased the enhanced technical readiness and maturity of current capabilities, as well as incorporate additional capabilities. Those capabilities include enhancements to existing technology, approaching challenges from a different angle, using unattended sensor networks, and bringing Spanish translations to the infotainment system. Overall, the WUI Phase Two Demonstration is a commitment to the goal shared by DHS S&T and FEMA IPAWS to continue to work collaboratively to mitigate risks that pose an economic and environmental threat to the country.

Last Updated: 06/30/2024
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