Are you turned off

Published in News on 8/9/2018

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) manage emergency alerts at the federal level. However, state and local emergency services across the nation have struggled with deciding what events warrant the use of Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS). People now have the option and are choosing to turn off severe weather and AMBER alerts through their cell carriers and are putting themselves at risk.

Tagged Under: Emergency Response, Emergency Systems, Facility Preparedness, Interagency, Offsite Response, Personal Security, Planning

On September 20, 2018 FEMA and the FCC will conduct a nationwide test of the EAS and WEA.  These two systems send out tips and timely information about weather conditions or emergency events that let people know if and when they should take safety precautions. These wireless emergency alert systems are saving lives and are a powerful tools for emergency managers and emergency response organizations.
 
Recently, bills like the “Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act”, have been introduced into both houses of Congress to improve America’s Emergency Alert Systems.
Part of the improvement is to require wireless providers to improve their geo-targeting accuracy to ensure only those affected by an emergency receive alerts. Many residents have complained about getting too many alerts that don’t affect them or are receiving alerts during early-morning hours. 
For instance, residents in one area of the country received alerts from the National Weather Service (NWS) regarding flash flooding.  Some residents used Twitter to voice their displeasure. They felt the danger wasn’t imminent enough to warrant a loud, early-morning alert.  The NWS doesn’t want residents to become fatigued with messaging and ignore them. The NWS said they only issue warnings they feel are serious threats to people’s lives.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) manage emergency alerts at the federal level.  However, state and local emergency services across the nation have struggled with deciding what events warrant the use of Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS). People now have the option and are choosing to turn off severe weather and AMBER alerts through their cell carriers and are possibly putting themselves at risk. The only alerts that can’t be turned-off are national security announcements from the President.
Click on the links associated with this article to read more about WEA and EAS and what folks are saying about it.
 
References: 
Wireless Emergency Alerts: An Update
April 10, 2018 - 3:00 pm
By Lisa M. Fowlkes | Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
 
Wireless Emergency Alerts: An Update
April 10, 2018 - 3:00 pm
By Lisa M. Fowlkes | Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
 
How Many Wireless Emergency Alerts Are Too Many?
 
Ben Lovejoy  - Jul. 13th 2018 6:56 am PT
 
Soon You Might See Emergency Alerts on Netflix
 
Ensuring Effective and Reliable Alerts and Warnings
 
Takeaways from the DC-area WEA system test
By Thomas Crane – May 14, 2018
 
CRTC ordered wireless providers to implement system to distribute warnings of imminent threats
 
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