So you’re wondering if it’s time to scale your mass notification. It is certainly an important question to ask. At Alertus, we’ve seen thousands of organizations that have started off with small systems specializing in a specific type of notification. It’s often a text or email service that allows them to send alerts to individuals, but emergency managers are looking for more, and rightfully so. Reaching everyone, and everywhere, is the number one priority in an emergency. Systems that only offer one type of notification drastically miss the mark when it comes to reaching every inch of a facility with critical information. This leaves just one option, scale!
Today the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is conducting a test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) as part of its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).
The test will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT with the WEA system, and the EAS test will begin at 2:20 EDT.
WEA test messages will be sent to cell phones connected to wireless providers participating in the program. According to FEMA's website:
Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and text that says:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.
The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”
For more information, visit: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test
The Alertus Mass Notification System supports the Common Alertus Protocol (CAP) and is interoperable with IPAWS, enabling organizations using the Alertus System to receive and activate alerts quickly and effectively. When the Alertus System processes a CAP file it constructs and disseminates a detailed alert notification using the core CAP fields, then, following pre-configured alert profiles, activate alerts when the CAP alert meets specified criteria such as severity, location, and certainty.
To learn more about Alertus System activation methods, please visit: https://www.alertus.com/activation
News and media outlets have seen a startling increase in the number of violent attacks on both journalists and facilities. One jaw-dropping incident took place only several miles from the Alertus Technologies headquarters at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD when a gunman forced his way into the facility and killed five employees. Unfortunately, this incident is only one of many we’ve seen in recent months. While it is hard to always control external threats, there are actions organizations can take to better address and respond to these threats, and it starts with emergency mass notification.
Whether you received the Alertus Desktop™ Notification donation for your campus and want to expand your capabilities, or looking to build a brand new notification system for your organization, your investment into the Alertus Mass Notification System is about getting the best in emergency notification to help keep the people in your facility safe. With Alertus Enhanced Notification Service (ENS), you can both expand and maximize your system’s capabilities, while getting the peace of mind that comes with live technical support.
The increase in violence and unpredictable weather threats is enough to keep anyone awake at night, especially those in the security and emergency management field. Whether it’s a university or office complex, it’s hard keeping everyone safe. Various types of mass notification systems certainly help, but having the tools to communicate with everyone does not mean you’re communicating effectively. These four steps below will help you improve your emergency notification and make sure you’re effectively reaching everyone, everywhere.
Reaching everyone, everywhere can be easier said than done. Organizations often have many moving parts making it hard to ensure that life-saving communication reaches everyone, especially in an emergency.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a U.S.-based organization established in 1896 and has since written hundreds of codes and standards to ensure facility safety. The NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Handbook outlines the safety provisions necessary for fire detection, signaling, and emergency communications. Chapter 24 of the Handbook provides guidelines for emergency communication systems and stipulates four types of Emergency Communication System Layers.
The Alertus Seminar Series hosted its first seminar of 2018 at headquarters with Johns Hopkins Healthcare System and it was definitely a huge success. Originally scheduled as a one day seminar, the event was expanded to two days, March 29 & 30, 2018, to accommodate the overwhelming response of registrants.
One of Alertus’ most frequently requested and utilized emergency notification tools is our software that can override computer screens with a message in the event of an emergency, known as the Alertus Desktop Notification. Most of our customers are familiar with this solution, but many end users might not be aware of the full breadth of features available.
The term severe storm encompasses numerous types of dangerous weather that both emergency management professionals and citizens must prepare for. Today marks the first day of Severe Storms Awareness Week in Maryland, where we are no stranger to tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, hail storms, ice storms, and much more. Regardless of your location and the storms common to your region, below are some proposed steps to prepare your facility for any severe storm.
On Saturday morning, January 13, 2018, Hawaiian residents received a frightening statewide alert about a ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii on their phones, radios, and televisions. This alert sent widespread panic throughout the islands as residents and visitors scrambled to find safety and feared that this would be the end, only to later find out it was a false alarm. Multiple news outlets have covered the story, and phrases like “inexcusable human error” and “lack of reasonable safeguards” are being thrown around. However as we wait for the full report to be released, there are several takeaways that we can look at already.
This release features our brand new Alertus Chromebook Notification solution—the first notification solution of its kind for Google Chromebooks. Built specifically for use by Chrome devices, this quarter-screen pop-up notification delivers critical information quickly to all subscribers, providing yet another effective layer of notification coverage as part of the Alertus Mass Notification System.
Alert Beacons are a compact, high-impact audible-visual alerting device that can be easily mounted on a wall to deliver critical emergency communications to everyone in the vicinity.Alert Beacons are ideal for retrofitting buildings without an existing notification system with an affordable option, where installing a PA system is impractical or cost-prohibitive.