Are you familiar with current emergency alerts? The Federal Communications Commission or FCC replaced the Emergency Broadcasting System, also known as EBS, two decades ago. The government created the system that replaced it, the Emergency Alert System, or EAS, to provide a more efficient solution for the president to address the nation at a moment’s notice.
Incredibly, it takes 10 minutes or less for EAS to notify the entire country with current emergency alerts successfully. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service, and the Federal Communications Commission regulate EAS. It is an official part of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program, which is also run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
In the midst of national emergencies, federal and local government officials need a system for delivering current emergency alerts. In an emergency, there is often very little time to react let alone warn others of impending danger. Consequently, these are just a couple of the reasons that America developed WEAsorWireless Emergency Alerts
Working hand in hand with IPAWS, which we will take a closer look at later in this article, the government can deliver WEAs to the entire nation at only a moments notice. These wireless emergency alerts have undoubtedly saved countless lives.
There are three specific types of WEAs: imminent threat alerts, AMBER alerts, and presidential alerts. These current emergency alerts are designed to appear as text messages. However, they are designated with vibrations and different sound notifications. These identifying features repeat two times to get your full attention.
Not all devices are WEAs capable, so, it is suggested to check with your service provider whether or not you are set up to receive them. They will not interrupt phone calls, messaging, or other actions that require data usage. Also, WEAs do not show up on your phone bill as standard text messages. In fact, you do not receive a bill for them at all.
Officials authorized to send WEAs include the president, local and state officials, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as well as the National Weather Service. In fact, WEAs are possibly the most effective method for alerting the public to dangerous situations and pressing emergencies, as well as informing them of what action to take.
Emergency weather alert system
The Emergency Alert System (EAS), is one of the nation’s primary methods for sending current emergency alerts. EAS requires all broadcasters, including radio, cable, and satellite networks, to provide the government with a means to address the entire country within minutes of an impending weather-related emergency or other major disasters.
EAS is used mainly by state and local officials in regards to disclosing weather-related information, AMBER alerts (missing or abducted children), and other pertinent information concerning emergencies. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is directly responsible or utilizing and testing EAS in case of national emergencies.
NOAA weather radio all hazards (NWR)
Equally important, NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a national network of radio stations that endlessly broadcast weather reports and current emergency alerts. In fact, the NWR collects their information from the nearest National Weather Service offices, which are spread out across the entire country and are continually gathering weather statistics and receiving live satellite imagery.
The primary duties of NWR include broadcasting severe weather warnings, watches, and forecasts, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. NWR sometimes works hand in hand with EAS to deliver national security alerts that are not weather-related. However, these broadcasts may be environment, nature or public safety oriented.
Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), is a culmination of the nation’s current and future emergency warning systems, including the technologies utilized and the complete infrastructure as well. IPAWS works closely with EAS, WEAs and the NWS to deliver the most accurate information regarding emergencies.
Regardless the type of emergency, IPAWS works with other agencies to make sure that Americans are fully aware of disasters and other serious incidents via current emergency alerts. Also, how to react in these particular situations such as whether someone should seek shelter in their bathroom or basement, or if they should evacuate their current location altogether.
Types of disasters
Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Anything from a storm lasting several hours to wildfires, floods, and other situations that may last for days and weeks. Below is a diverse list of natural and human-made disasters.
- Drought and massive water shortage
- Extreme heat and severe weather
- High winds
- Landslides including rockslides, mudslides, and avalanches
- Thunder and lightning storms
- Winter ice storms
- Volcano eruption
- Chemical weapons attack
- Power outages
- Nuclear events such as a damaged powerplant or detonated warhead
- Civil unrest, also known as Anarchy
What You Can Do to Prepare for Disasters
Be informed. Plan ahead. Take action. These are the main points to take with you as far as current emergency alerts go. Stay tuned, so that you remain fully informed. Plan ahead, which means storing water, canned food, flashlights, and other equipment in the basement or other secure locations. Take action, when you receive WEAs or other information via EAS and IPAWS be prepared to do what is best for the safety of you and your loved ones. Below is an additional list of helpful disaster preparedness tips.
Sign up for current emergency alerts
Most importantly, check with your service provider to make sure that your devices are capable of receiving WEAs, that way you’re not caught unaware.
Have a plan in place for various disaster scenarios
Create a plan and discuss it with all the members of your family, and anyone in the immediate household. Including planning for events that may happen when you are away from your home.
Know your local area’s evacuation routes
Check with local authorities to find out the evacuation routes for your immediate area, and then familiarize yourself with them.
Create an emergency kit and understand how to use it
Also, put together an emergency kit with everything that you may need to survive a disaster. Including food, water, medicine, clothing, and more.
Have a plan for those with special needs, including pets
Preparation for dealing with special needs family members and pets in the face of a disaster is critical. Considering their specific needs and creating plans will help alleviate dangerous situations during emergencies.
Learn skills that are handy in emergency situations
Further, learn and practice survival skills such as fire starting, shelter building, cooking on an open flame, how to operate a fire extinguisher, etc.
Understand the impact that various emergencies can have
It’s also important that you study actual emergencies and disasters that have occurred in your area. Knowledge is power because history really does repeat itself!
Know the location of nearby emergency shelters
Additionally, you’ll want to contact local officials to obtain emergency shelter locations. These may be important shopping centers, schools, and even stadiums.
Have a plan for reconnecting with friends and
After a disaster happens, you will want to make sure you have an established plan – a full program – for reconnecting with friends as well as a family. Also decide how to communicate, where to meet, and anything else applicable.
Put together an emergency kit
Finally, aside from understanding the different types of emergencies that you and your loved ones may face in the future, and preparing accordingly, having an emergency kit is a huge benefit. In the case of an actual emergency, such as a violent storm, power outage, earthquake, or an alien invasion of Earth, an emergency kit can help to ease the turbulence of the situation.
Putting together an emergency kit is one of the very best ways to prepare for a disaster. When a severe emergency occurs, which often appear with little to no warning, regular everyday needs like food and water can be impossible to come by. Having an emergency kit lends a bit of security in disastrous scenarios. Below is a list of recommended items to add to your kit:
- Canned and boxed food
- A large amount of water
- Can opener or knife for opening canned food
- First aid kit and necessary medical supplies including prescriptions
- Flashlights and lantern with extra batteries
- A battery-powered NOAA weather radio, also with additional batteries
- Maps of the local area
- Pliers or another tool for safely turning off utilities
- Plastic tarp and duct tape for temporary shelter
- Plastic bags for waste disposal
- A face mask for filtering contaminated air
- Extra clothing for each member of your family
- Matches and lighter
- One clean blanket or sleeping bag for each member of your family
- Water purification drops or a water filter
- Cash and valuables such as gold, silver, and expensive jewelry
Surviving a Disaster
Signing up for current emergency alerts, like WEAs, and keeping an NOAA weather radio on hand will keep you safe. Putting an emergency kit together and learning as much as possible about different disaster scenarios will help keep you safe.
Full preparation for an emergency is the best defense, in the end, because the best way to survive a disaster is to plan for it. A severe emergency situation can arise seemingly in the blink of an eye, leaving hardly any time at all to get your act together. The better informed you are, and physically prepared for a disaster, the better your chances are that you and your loved ones will survive.