New module expands emergency alerts

AtHoc has released an extension to the company's alert notification system to enable federal, state and local emergency management officials to send Emergency Alert System messages to the public more rapidly and efficiently.

IWSAlerts, AtHoc's Web-based alert management system, now supports the Common Alerting Protocol, allowing emergency responders to send EAS messages over the Internet to broadcasters, according to company officials. The Federal Communications Commission announced May 31 that all EAS participants must support CAP to ensure alerts can be transmitted rapidly and efficiently to the public in a variety of formats ' including text, audio and video ' via broadcast, cable, satellite and other communications networks.

EAS was launched in 1994 as a replacement for the Emergency Broadcast System. It is administered by FCC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service. State and local officials develop, implement and maintain the EAS infrastructure locally. EAS allows radio and TV stations to send emergency information to the public.

The AtHoc IWSAlerts EAS Activation Module includes components that enable CAP-compliance for emergency management agencies and participating broadcasters, company officials said. AtHoc users will be able to trigger EAS systems by transmitting a CAP message that would be received by the broadcaster's CAP-enabled equipment.

AtHoc has already successfully implemented the new module, integrating the Hawaii State Civil Defense with EAS, according to company officials.

Using IWSAlerts, emergency managers can trigger alerts to a broad range of IP-based communications channels such as desktop computers, mobile phone text messaging and short message services, telephony, sirens, public address systems and paging systems. With the optional EAS Activation Module, they can send alerts directly through EAS over the Internet to broadcasters at the same time the alerts are distributed through other communication channels.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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