National Emergency Alert System Goes Live – GovTech – 10 April 2012

Posted on April 12, 2012. Filed under: Disaster Management, Health Informatics |

National Emergency Alert System Goes Live – GovTech – 10 April 2012

By Sarah Rich

“After much anticipation, the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) went live last weekend, a first-of-its-kind national alert system in the U.S. that allows the public to receive major emergency alert notifications on their mobile phones without having to sign up or pay for them.

CMAS is the interface to the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service that wireless phone carriers will roll out in the U.S. this year. The system was developed through a partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the FCC and wireless phone carriers to increase public safety nationwide, according to FEMA.

Through the CMAS system, authorized public safety authorities will be able to use FEMA’s Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN) to send geographically specific emergency alert notifications similar to text messages to the public.

Alerts can be a maximum of 90 characters, and in most cases, will only contain basic information such as the type of emergency, when the alert will expire and a recommended course of action. Cellphone carriers will sell mobile phones with the capability to receive CMAS notifications, said Rick Wimberly, president of Galain Solutions Inc., and blogger for Emergency Management magazine, Government Technology’s sister publication. Carriers like AT&T have already provided a list of models that can receive CMAS notifications.”

… continues on the GovTech site

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