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Today's Emergency Alert System Testing: Public Safety Expert Source and Survey Data

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission will hold the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. Because the national system has never been tested, homeland security officials say this is an important trial to see how it works.

But how do alerts and mass notification systems work? --- What systems are in place to protect the local population when disaster strikes? --- Why is it important to test these systems? --- How can emergency managers effectively notify the public during an emergency?

Joe Wilson, president of the Industrial Systems Division, Safety & Security Group at Federal Signal, a leading global designer and manufacturer of public safety communications equipment and systems that enhance safety, security and well-being of communities and workplaces, can address these questions while discussing:

  • How mass notification systems issue warnings through a variety of mediums, in real time (through sirens, TV, phone calls, text message, social media, etc.)
  • How human factors such as age, physical disabilities and cultural differences complicate communications and ways emergency responders mitigate these challenges
  • How advances in technology have created new channels for mass notification systems and ways they have created additional layers of complication and complexities
  • The most effective and efficient ways to reach the public in cases of emergency

Joe Wilson says, “It would seem to make sense that the flood of new technology has made it easier than ever to reach out and communicate with someone, right? Think again. While it’s true that communicating with ‘someone’ may indeed be easier, achieving dependable communications with ‘everyone’ on a moments notice is at least as much of a challenge as ever.”

Having recently testified on FEMA and emergency management in front of a US House of Representative committee, Joe Wilson knows the technology, risk and communication pitfalls that rattle even the most seasoned emergency managers – and more importantly, he knows how to address them.

Interested in learning more or arranging an interview, please contact  at 312/255-3136 and/or Abbie.Ginther@hillandknowlton.com.

A few statistics from Federal Signal’s 2011 Public Safety Survey.
Public Safety in a Post-9/11 World

  • Half of Americans feel less safe in their day-to-day lives than they did before the 9/11 tragedy.
  • 90% of Americans surveyed also feel that some form of improvement—ranging from minor to significant—is needed to public emergency awareness or communication where they live.
  • 34% of Americans feel that public safety is a not a priority in their community.
  • Almost 4 out of 10 consider their city or town slightly to completely unprepared in the event of an emergency, including unexpected risks such as natural disasters, terrorism and health pandemics.

Americans Feel Safest at Home, Not Work

  • More than four in 10 Americans feel that public safety planning is not a priority to their employers, and, when asked where they felt safest, only 4% of respondents said at work.
  • Respondents who live in a smaller city feel that their employers prioritize safety much higher (73%) than those who live in a rural area (48%).

Paying Attention to Disasters can Help Americans Prepare for Them

  • 52% feel that attention to emergency preparedness has not increased, even when citing recent the earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods that occurred in 2011.

Public Safety Requires a Proactive Approach

  • For almost half of Americans, public safety awareness has not improved, with 46% reporting they feel the same level of awareness or less than they did a year ago.
  • 22% said that nothing will make an effective impact to public safety awareness.

Americans Make Use of Communication Channels

  • 57% of Americans would use multiple forms of communication, including text messaging, social media and email, if no landline or cell phone voice communications were available in the event of an emergency.

 



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