Emergency population warning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Horn for public warning system in Sweden

An emergency population warning is a method whereby local, regional, or national authorities can contact members of the public en masse to warn them of an impending emergency. These warnings may be necessary for a number of reasons, including:

Many local areas use emergency population warnings to advise of prison escapes, abducted children, Emergency telephone number outages, and other events.

Requirements[edit]

In order to develop an effective emergency warning system, certain things are required:

  • an agreement as to what constitutes an emergency in the area served by the system. This differs from region to region depending on the local climate, geology, and the like.
  • an agreement as to who can initiate an alert. In some countries all warnings are transmitted by a single command center, while in others (such as the United States) a host of local, regional, and national agencies are authorized to initiate warnings.
  • a system or systems by which the information can be quickly transmitted to the population.
  • an education program to teach the general public how to recognize an alert or what to do if a warning is broadcast.

United Nations program[edit]

Early warning system is the term that the International Early Warning Programme coordinated by the United Nations uses for all systems that are used to send emergency population warnings. (IEWP 2007)

The United Nations relies on the Everbridge Aware emergency notification system (ENS) to alert its 10,000 staff to address their safety and security when a critical incident or event occurs.[citation needed]

The United Nations Development Programme uses the Send Word Now Emergency Notification System to alert its worldwide staff when an urgent situation arises.[1]

Methods by country[edit]

Canada[edit]

As of January 2007 Canada does not have a national emergency population warning system. The private company Pelmorex, which owns Canada's two major cable weather networks (The Weather Network and MétéoMédia), has proposed a national warning system which would be called All Channel Alert. This would work like the American EAS. On June 11, 2009, the CRTC gave Pelmorex full approval of the service, which will serve to complement efforts set forth by the federal government, as well as provincial and local governments.[2][3]

The Canadian government is currently working on a proposed national public alerting system under the name CANALERT. It is expected that this system will work closely with private broadcasters and telecommunications operators to enable an all-hazards, all-media warning system based on the Common Alerting Protocol information standard.

As of November 2010, both All Channel Alert and CANALERT has yet to be launched.

The province of Alberta had its own system called the Emergency Public Warning System (EPWS). The EPWS was put into place after a major tornado swept through the city of Edmonton in 1987, killing 27 and causing millions of dollars in damage. Unlike the American EAS, however, broadcast of the EPWS is not mandatory on radio and television stations. It was broadcast on the CKUA Radio Network and is televised on Access TV and by co-operating stations. EPWS warnings can be initiated by municipal police and fire departments, the provincial government, county authorities, tribal government agencies, Environment Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. CKUA developed and maintained the EPWS until January 2010, when the contract was lost to an Ottawa firm.[who?][4]

In June 2011, the Province of Alberta released a modernized EPWS and re-branded it as Alberta Emergency Alert.[5][6] It currently broadcasts Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) alert messages to Facebook, Twitter, RSS, a public website as well as an Android [7] and an iOS app.[8] Volunteer TV and radio stations transmit "Critical" messages from Alberta Emergency Alert while, other, less severe "Information Alerts" do not automatically interrupt broadcast but are available on all other mediums mentioned.

France[edit]

Alert signal in France
End of alert signal in France

In France, the population warning is made via air raid siren. This network is called the "Réseau national d'alerte" (RNA). The system is inherited from the air-raid siren network (défense passive) developed before World War II. It consists of about 4,500 electronic or electromechanical sirens placed all over France.

In some cases, the warning signal may be played by a mobile system installed on the fire department's vehicles.

The warning signal is described by décret (by law) of March 23, 2007. It consists in a modulated sound going up and down (up to 380 Hz) during the first minute, and repeated three times. The end of alert is a continuous signal lasting 30 seconds.

The system is tested every month, the first Wednesday at 12 noon; for tests, the modulated signal is played only once.

When the warning signal sounds, people are expected to remain at home or the building they are in and listen to further instructions on radio via France Info, France Inter, or local stations.

Instructions may also be announced by police or fire department vehicles.

Japan[edit]

The J-Alert system launched in 2007 aims to allow government officials to address the population directly via loudspeakers. It aims to cover earthquake, tsunami, volcano, and military emergencies.

The Earthquake Early Warning system is operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency. It is capable of delivering warnings a few seconds before S-waves can propagate to distant locations. Warnings are broadcast by radio and television stations, and compatible equipment can automatically turn on when receiving a message. EEW capability is also required for all domestic cell phones sold after 2007.

JMA also issues advisories regarding tropical cyclones in the western Pacific Ocean.

South American countries[edit]

Many countries in South America have a system called "cadena nacional" (Spanish: national broadcast). It enables the leader of the country to address the people simultaneously on all TV channels and radio stations, interrupting normal programming. The details vary: in Argentina and Venezuela, it is mandatory to broadcast the message, while in Chile it is voluntary. Many of those systems were created by past military governments.

United States[edit]

The bulk of emergency warnings in the United States are sent through the Emergency Alert System. The EAS can be activated by national, state, regional, or local authorities, including police, fire, weather, and other governmental authorities. EAS is often activated when an unpredicted emergency such as a tornado, earthquake, or release of toxic gas happens. The vast majority of EAS alerts are generated by the National Weather Service.

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning (IPAWS) program of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is an attempt to integrate multiple public warning technologies into a coordinated nationwide "system of systems" using the Common Alerting Protocol. Systems targeted for inclusion in IPAWS include the Emergency Alert System, the Commercial Mobile Alert System using cellular telephones and other wireless devices and the NOAA Weather Radio network.

Many states use existing air raid sirens to warn of tornadoes and flash floods. People living near certain nuclear facilities such as the Hanford Site in Washington have special radios in their home that are set to broadcast a warning signal in the event of a radiological emergency. Some emergencies (AMBER Alerts, for instance) are also sent out via e-mail, cellphone text message, and highway signs. Many U.S. institutions of higher education now use multiple warning technologies on their campuses, including outdoor and indoor sirens, public address systems, email and cell phone text messaging, and digital displays.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UN-led global early warning system takes shape" (Press release). UN International Early Warning Programme. 26 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Broadcasting Order CRTC 2009-340, issued 6/11/2009". Crtc.gc.ca. 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  4. ^ "Contract loss forces job cuts at CKUA". Cbc.ca. January 12, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  5. ^ "AlertSite Alberta Emergency Alert About The Program". Emergencyalert.alberta.ca. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  6. ^ "Alberta Emergency Alert Index". Emergencyalert.alberta.ca. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  7. ^ "Alberta Emergency Alert - Android Apps on Google Play". Play.google.com. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  8. ^ "Alberta Emergency Alert on the App Store on iTunes". Itunes.apple.com. 2014-08-15. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  9. ^ Shalash, Samieh. "CNU Increasing Lockdowns, Evacuations: Drills are Part of Testing the Emergency Notification System". Daily Press. 

External links[edit]