5.1 Saving Lives with Wireless Emergency Alerts: Major Improvements Coming

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 1:30 PM
615 (Washington State Convention Center )
Michael Gerber, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD; and R. Bunge and H. L. White

NOAA's Weather-Ready Nation is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events. The National Weather Service (NWS) disseminates its most critical warnings to FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) for broadcast to Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) capable cell phones. NWS activation of WEA is credited by emergency managers and news organizations for saving many lives. WEA represents an innovative partnership where the Federal Government, commercial wireless industry, emergency management community, and academia are working together to save lives. In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reviewed public comment on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would bring significant improvements to WEA.  This paper will describe the key elements that all WEA success stories have in common, the current technology being employed by WEA, and important improvements coming as a result of new FCC rule making.
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