FEMA, NWS, et al, Join AWARN
Major public safety groups join AWARN advisory committee
July 10, 2017
nation’s largest originators of emergency alerts have come together
to advise the industry group behind the Advanced Warning and Response Network.
Designed to work synergistically with existing alerting systems, AWARN will
provide major new capabilities to improve disaster warning and recovery
information for the American public.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the
National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, the National Weather Service,
and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials have joined the
new AWARN Advisory Committee to provide technical and operational input to the
By leveraging the powerful new features of
next-generation broadcasting, the AWARN Alliance is creating a system that can
deliver geo-targeted, rich-media emergency messages to a wide range of enabled
consumer devices, including 4K UHD TVs, tablets, smart phones and even
connected cars. Television broadcasters and consumer technology companies are
planning for the voluntary adoption of Next-Gen TV transmission, based on the
new ATSC 3.0 technical standard, pending approval by the Federal Communications
Commission, expected later this year.
“Our goal in developing AWARN is to
create the world’s most advanced emergency alerting system, and Next-Gen TV provides the tools to do that,” said John Lawson, executive
director of the AWARN Alliance. “Our public safety partners will help
us define how to use those tools to create messages that save lives and speed
recovery,” he said.
“Without broadcasters, AMBER Alert
would not be the successful system we have today. Once again, broadcasters will
enable the growth of AMBER Alerts and enhance the current alerting system by
adopting new technology,” said Robert Lowery Jr., vice president of the Missing Children Division of the NCMEC. “Alerts through ATSC 3.0 will
provide rich, useful information to the public, whom law enforcement depends on
to be their eyes and ears during the most critical child abductions. We are
looking forward to working with AWARN to help define and implement these
NWS Meteorologist Mike Gerber recognizes the
promise of advanced emergency alerting with ATSC 3.0. “The National
Weather Service is pleased to serve as a technical adviser on the AWARN
Advisory Committee as we work collectively to build a Weather-Ready
Nation,” he said.
Examples of the rich media alerts enabled by the
AWARN system include photos, surveillance video, storm tracks, inundation maps,
evacuation routes, road hazards, airborne chemical plume models and safety
instructions. AWARN can provide post-event information, such as shelter
locations, hospital wait times and other recovery notifications—even if cellular
networks and the electric grid are down. AWARN may also deliver Blue Alerts and
other law enforcement messages.
APCO International is the world’s
oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals,
including those at Public Safety Answering Points who issue local
emergency alerts. FEMA manages the current Emergency Alert System,
including the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. NCMEC issues AMBER
missing child alerts in cooperation with state and local law enforcement
agencies. The National Weather Service issues severe weather alerts, accounting
for 90 percent of EAS activations each year.
The AWARN Alliance membership includes
commercial and public broadcasters who reach over 85 percent of U.S.
households, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Consumer Technology
Association, the Interactive Television Alliance, and a growing number of U.S.
and Korean technology companies and service providers.
AWARN Alliance and Advisory Committee members
plan to convene working groups in the second half of the year. The
Alliance’s goal is to have a beta version of AWARN alerts available
for early adopter television stations that launch Next-Gen TV transmission in
Members of the AWARN Alliance, as of July 7,
Capitol Broadcasting Company
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Kentucky Educational Television
KPBS/California State University-San Diego
UNC-TV/University of North Carolina
WKAR/Michigan State University
Monroe Electronics/Digital Alert Systems
Consumer Technology Association
Interactive Television Alliance
National Association of Broadcasters
AEA Implementation Team (ATSC)
Convergence Services, Inc.
Wiley Rein, LLC