Louisiana Puts ALERT FM Broadcast-Based Emergency Alerting System Into Operation
Global Security Systems (GSS) announced that Louisiana radio stations have implemented the ALERT FM and the GSSNet systems, improving the way the state delivers voice and text emergency notifications to the public. The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) will use the ALERT FM system to send out its emergency alerts, as well as emergency managers from all 64 parishes and multiple colleges and universities across the state.
The statewide alert system uses a secure and protected satellite network for disseminating the timely alerts (delivered to the entire state in less than 60 seconds) along with the robust and stable Louisiana broadcaster infrastructure. ALERT FM is unique when compared to other notification systems because it delivers emergency messages using the data subcarrier (called Radio Data System) of existing local FM radio transmission towers providing overlapping and redundant signal coverage. The broadcast messages are free to the public and don't require a long-term contract.
A 2010 study commissioned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and conducted by Northrop Grumman Corporation confirmed the effectiveness of broadcast-based alerts and warnings provided by ALERT FM and others for use in the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) architecture.
More recently, the General Accountability Office (GAO)
(http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654135.pdf) recommended that FEMA work in conjunction with the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) to establish guidance for states to fully implement IPAWS components including broadcast-based alert systems.
Mary Landrieu, U.S. Senator for Louisiana and an early supporter of broadcast-based emergency alerts and notifications, stated, "With ALERT FM and GSSNet, we have implemented a reliable method of distributing life-saving information to the citizens of Louisiana. The dependability of broadcast transmissions can make the difference between life and death during an emergency."
Senator Landrieu has been a tireless supporter of broadcasting as an alert platform, she sponsored legislation to designate certain broadcasters as "first response broadcasters" in an effort to make it easier for broadcasters to maintain service and inform the public of vital information during disasters and national emergencies.
"In the event of a missing child, the law enforcement agencies can use this system to send Amber Alerts statewide," said Sheriff Tony Mancuso of Calcasieu Parish and President of the Louisiana Sheriff's Association.
Along with ALERT FM, the GSSNet system provides a complete end-to-end, satellite-based voice and text emergency notification system that includes Amber Alerts, evacuation notices, and weather warnings and instructions. It is compliant with all Common Alert Protocol (CAP) and Emergency Alert System requirements.
"In an emergency, the availability of broadcast alert messages on a variety of devices, including mobile phones, will save more lives," observed Robert Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer, GSS.