Tuesday, August 24, 2010

California Works with Sprint on First Mobile Alert System

The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) has selected Sprint to deploy the first Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) in the country. The FCC has established the CMAS to allow wireless service providers send emergency alerts as text messages to their subscribers.

The nation's first CMAS pilot program will be conducted in San Diego County beginning in fall 2010 in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. The technology will be tested across urban, suburban and rural areas, and includes the involvement of law enforcement agencies, local jurisdictions and other regional partners.

The CMAS network will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to accept and aggregate alerts from the President of the United States, the National Weather Service (NWS), and state and local emergency operations centers, and then send the alerts over a secure interface to participating wireless providers. Emergency alerts will be classified in one of three categories:

  • Presidential Alerts -- Alerts for all Americans related to national emergencies, such as terrorist attacks, that will preempt any other pending alerts;

  • Imminent Threat Alerts -- Alerts with information on emergencies, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, where life or property is at risk, the event is likely to occur, and some responsive action should be taken; and

  • Child Abduction Emergency/AMBER Alerts -- Alerts related to missing or endangered children due to an abduction or runaway situation.

It will be possible for consumers to opt out of receiving Imminent Threat and Child Abduction/AMBER alerts, but not Presidential Alerts.

The CMAS technology in Sprint's network is enabled by Alcatel-Lucent's Broadcast Message Center (BMC), which serves as the secure interface between CMAS and Sprint's network to meet the mission critical needs of delivering emergency alert messages. BMC receives the CMAS alerts from state and federal agencies and broadcasts them to cell sites serving mobile customers within a targeted geographic area.


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