Monday, September 16, 2013

PBS Connects its Warning, Alert and Response Network to FEMA

Today, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) announced that it has connect its Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) alert aggregator using a customized implementation of TeleCommunication Systems’ Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) gateway product.  Once this system is fully functional, PBS WARN will allow cellular providers a free backup method of reciving Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages.   The connection to FEMA is a key step in implementing the WARN project and providing this service to cellular companies.

“The PBS WARN system will deliver CMAS emergency alerts (also known as WEA) via free, over-the-air digital TV signals broadcast by PBS member stations and other non-commercial licensees who receive the PBS satellite feed. Cell phone subscribers of participating carriers in the geo-targeted area will receive these critical messages as 90-character text messages with a unique alert tone,” according to the PBS press release.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is similar to text messages, although it uses a different kind of technology to deliver the message immediately and make sure the message isn’t delayed on the wireless networks.

Dana Golub, executive director of WARN for PBS, said, "From being involved with the creation of the WEA standards to the design and installation of their CMAS solutions, we have benefitted immensely from TCS' knowledge and experience. Helping to notify the public of emergencies, disasters and other important events is a natural extension of PBS' mission, so we are thrilled to have reached this important milestone."

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