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FEMA to Adopt CAP

In the first quarter of 2009, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency intends to adopt an alerting protocol in line with Common Alerting Protocol 1.1 as the standard for the Integrated Public Alert and Warnings System.

IPAWS is a network of alert systems through which FEMA is upgrading the Emergency Alert System. CAP 1.1 is a format for exchanging emergency alerts allowing a consistent warning message to be disseminated at the same time over many warning systems.

FEMA says EAS participants, including broadcasters and state and local emergency managers, must be in compliance with the CAP 1.1 standard within 180 days of its formal adoption.

Broadcasters and public safety officials have been hounding FEMA to get moving on the declaration of the CAP standard, without which many say a nationwide network of public safety systems will not easily move forward.

“Arriving at standards and protocols that work for everyone is a complex process,” said Martha Rainville, assistant administrator of FEMA’s National Continuity Programs Directorate. FEMA is working “with partners across the government, private sector and non-profit community to develop a CAP profile that ensures the interoperability needed to deliver alerts and warnings to more people in more locations through more paths.”

FEMA’s partners in developing CAP profiles include the National Weather Service; the Federal Communications Commission; DHS Science & Technology Directorate’s Command, Control and Interoperability Division; Emergency Interoperability Consortium; Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards; and the International Association of Emergency Managers.

(Radio World)