Michigan Prepares to Redirect Emergency Alerts

LANSING, MICH. : State police and emergency managers in Michigan will have direct input to key broadcasters on public warnings starting Monday.

“Through funds provided by the federal government, the Michigan State Police and several emergency managers will be able to send emergency messages and AMBER alerts directly to key EAS stations throughout the state,” according to a statement by the state’s EAS chair Larry Estlack, who is also director of technology for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters

“The EAS terminals are linked by both satellite and Internet to provide redundancy when communication systems have failed. Additionally, as the warning is sent to key broadcast stations, it can be sent in a short-length format that can be used to post to Web sites, feed electronic signs and be sent to e-mail accounts, as well as text messages to mobile devices.”

He said this EMnet system was employed in 25 percent of the United States and compliant with the expected government-required messaging format.

“We expect to demonstrate its ability to provide full text messaging for the hearing impaired in the coming weeks,” he said in the statement. “These early warnings will allow the broadcasting community to inform their audiences quicker, ultimately helping to save lives.”

The system can send messages in English, Spanish and French in 10 seconds. Emergency managers have been training on the EMnet equipment with weekly tests. -- from Radio World