Emergency Management Blogs

Emergency Management Blog - Eric Holdeman: Disaster Zone
Disaster Zone

by Eric Holdeman: Emergency management in the blogosphere

Subscribe via RSS | About this Blog | Contact Eric Holdeman | Ericpedia

Shakeout in Alert and Warning Systems Coming
July 14, 2012
Bookmark and Share

The Virginia Tech shooting was the significant event that pushed not only schools and universities to get phone notification systems, but energized the entire industry.  At one point there were over 87 companies offering phone notification systems of one type or another.  Already that number has dwindled to around 37.

 

The major players are still around and offering services, but the new IPAWS and CMAS programs that are just coming on line will enable emergency managers and other first responder agencies to use "unregistered" phones and alert people by geographical area--in the case of cell phones anyway.  For more on the two Federal programs you should be following the blog Alerts and Notifications by Rick Wimberly and Lorin Bristow.

 

The recent Waldo Canyon Fire exposed several vulnerabilities to the existing warning system.  See 21K Never Received Waldo Canyon Evacuation Call  There are limitations to what the systems can do.  People have to be registered and the phone system needs to be available and not overloaded with calls.  There is a necessary interface between the phone system and the commercial phone systems providers.  In instances where there are problems the inevitable finger pointing between the two providers can be expected.

 

Then there is the social piece of it.  People, even after being warned, must take action in a timely manner.  One Colorado emergency manager told me that all the people who died in the Waldo Canyon Fire did get a physical evacuation notice, yet still were taking time to load up possessions before evacuating.  

 

As many a technology company has found, the pace of change can rapidly make your "solution" obsolete and not necessary.  Emergency managers cannot think that what has worked for the last five-ten years will work in the future.  It is one argument for purchasing hosted applications so that you don't have sunk costs in hardware and software that soon becomes outdated.  

 

I fully expect that telecommunications companies will latch onto the opportunity to use the alert and warning capabilities of their systems as a competitive advantage.  

 

Marty Pastula passed along the link to the Colorado story.

Top

Comments


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

Active shooter training
Texas Could Rake in Millions for Active Shooter Response Training

One state university could get $15 million in federal money to support programs that train police how to address situations like the recent Fort Hood shooting.
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.

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.…

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