Customers of Cooper Notification, a supplier of life safety and mass notification system solutions, now can send alerts from their Roam Secure Alert Network directly to FEMA’s Commercial Mobile Alert System
CMAS, part of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, is the government’s latest development to communicate to the public in an emergency by sending specially formatted text messages to all devices capable of receiving the alert in a specified geographic area. CMAS can send Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), short alert messages via cell towers to mobile devices even to those owned by individuals who have not signed up to receive alerts.
CMAS can send three types of alerts: presidential, Amber Alerts and notifications of imminent life-threating situations. Alerts can be sent by the president, state or local emergency managers and the National Weather Service.
State and local emergency managers, who have been approved by FEMA and their state, can now send imminent threat alerts from RSAN to CMAS. Once the alert is created, RSAN sends it via Common Alerting Protocol to the IPAWS-OPEN aggregator, the federal gatekeeper for messages created by FEMA and the FCC. FEMA reviews the incoming message based on three criteria: It must be urgent, severe, and certain. If the alert meets these requirements and the agency has been trained and approved, the message is then sent to targeted cell towers in a specific geographic area.
EAS broadcasts that are sent over TV and radio channels can also be activated from Cooper Notification’s IPAWS compliant platform. In addition, RSAN allows customers to check the status of messages that they sent to FEMA and to retrieve CMAS and EAS messages from their region’s Collaborative Operating Group (COG), which can be distributed to their recipients.
“The ability to connect to IPAWS allows our authorized customers to reach the public at their current location, not just where they live,” Scott Hearn, Cooper Notification president, said in a prepared statement. “For example, Benton County, Arkansas Office of Emergency Communications and the District of Columbia Homeland Security & Emergency Management Agency will be able to communicate to business travelers and tourists who are in their area temporarily. IPAWS won’t replace other notification systems, but it will complement other systems like RSAN allowing end users to have as many channels as possible to communicate in a crisis.”