Emergency Management Blogs

Alerts & Notifications

by Rick Wimberly: Best practices for emergency notification programs

Subscribe via RSS | About this Blog | Contact Rick Wimberly

Another Cell Broadcast Test...
October 21, 2010
Bookmark and Share

Latest Blog Posts RSS

Emergency Management Blog - Eric Holdeman: Disaster Zone Global Warming, Getting Better or Getting Worse?
Apr 14 Please leave a note on my grave and tell me what happened.…
Emergency Management Blog - Eric Holdeman: Disaster Zone Quote: On Continuous Learning
Apr 14 Never stop learning. Today that means keeping up with technology.…
Should Emergency Managers Be Change Agents?
Apr 11 Professor Tom Drabek argues that it is time for emergency managers to expand their vision.…

The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has announced that it has completed a test of cell broadcast alerts.  That means that emergency messages were delivered to mobile devices, without necessity of citizens signing up.  Cell broadcast is, as one emergency management professional who's been following this closely, puts it, "without a doubt the best technology move the US has attempted in the name of notification".

Cell broadcast comes through the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) effort operated by FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program.  By 2012, most of the cell carriers in the US will make it possible for local public safety officials to send emergency text messages to mobile devices within shout of local cell towers.  Citizens won't have to sign up.  There's no charge for citizens, and none for local public safety.

For their test, FDEM teamed with three companies for delivering the messages to mobile devices in Pasco and Polk counties.  Blackboard Connect provided the "front end", the means for creating and activating the messages using the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP).  The test messages were then handed off to Cellcast Technologies, LLC and Alcatel-Lucent.  They provided the "middleware" which, in effect, controls and delivers the messages to the wireless network.  Then, the messages were broadcast on local cell towers and received on mobile devices equipped to recognize CMAS messages.  It may sound complicated, but it all happens quite quickly. 

Don't confuse CMAS with FM chips in mobile devices.  Although a new program, CMAS really exists; it's written into federal rules and regulations.  FM chips in mobile devices is the subject of a rather hot debate (umm, strike the "rather").  (More on the debate in our previous post here.)

Similar CMAS tests are being conducted in California.  (See our previous post here.)  We called the California tests the first in the nation.  Perhaps Florida was first.  Either way, we're glad to see the race is on, as 2012 is approaching faster than we might like.  (For more info on the Florida tests, get the press release from Pasco County's web site here.)

As we talk to public safety officials around the country, they often express lots of frustration trying to get citizens to sign up to receive emergency messages on their mobile devices.  Best efforts to solicit sign-ups often fall short. CMAS will eliminate that challenge...thankfully.

All the best,






Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic or a personal attack. Comments are limited to 2,000 characters.

Latest Emergency Management News

Washington National Guard search the Oso landslide
The Story Behind #530slide: Social Media During Emergency Response

The recent mudslide in Oso, Wash., showed the power of social media during times of crisis.
Power lines
Security Holes in Power Grid Have Federal Officials Scrambling

When the owner of a small tech firm shared the discovery with utility security officials, the DHS advised power grid operators to upgrade their software.
FirstNet Is Seeking a New General Manager

The First Responder Network Authority is looking for a new general manager to take Bill D’Agostino's place and lead the nationwide communications project.

4 Ways to Get EM

Subscribe to Emergency Management MagazineFollow Emergency Management on TwitterSubscribe to Emergency Management HeadlinesSubscribe to Emergency Management Newsletters

Featured Papers

Blog Archives