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Texas Department of Public Safety Prepares for the Worst

The DASDEC-II Emergency Operations Center public alert and warning solution is used to send statewide alerts to mobile phones and other systems through FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

LYNDONVILLE, N.Y. and AUSTIN, TEXAS — The Texas Department of Public Safety has upgraded the state's emergency alert warning system with new technology from Digital Alert Systems, a division of Monroe Electronics.

The Texas DPS' Division of Emergency Management has installed a DASDEC-II Emergency Operations Center (DASEOC) integrated public alert and warning solution from DAS, using it to activate the Texas Emergency Alert System (EAS) statewide; as well as to send alerts to mobile phones and other systems through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). DPS is the primary source for emergency messages from the governor or other designated state officials.

The DASEOC system, installed and tested by Texas-based systems integrator Consolidated Telecom Services (CTS), will serve as the core of the state's public alert and warning system, simultaneously activating the state EAS relay to radio, TV, and cable systems across Texas. The DASEOC will be the state's primary interface with the FEMA IPAWS network, providing the department with synchronized access to EAS and enabling IPAWS to generate Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to the cell phone systems. Alerts sent from the DASEOC will be monitored by radio, TV, and cable operations across Texas and carried by wireless carriers across the state.

DAS said the sheer size and geographic diversity of Texas pose numerous hurdles to conventional EAS capabilities. The DASEOC addresses these challenges by allowing DPS officials to create and issue alerts from the DASEOC to both the existing EAS system and FEMA's CAP-based IPAWS system. With the DASEOC, Texas DPS can send statewide alerts or target the messages to any number of Texas' 254 counties.

By making it easy for authorities to send emergency communications by both legacy EAS and CAP, the DASEOC ensures that the public can receive alerts via radio, TV, cable, and mobile phones. The DASEOC can also relay emergency communications to other CAP systems for use by public safety and emergency management professionals. Easily integrated with a variety of broadcast and public safety systems, the DASEOC also facilitates activation of EAS in parallel to other communications systems, increasing the ability to reach both the public and first responders through many paths with consistent messaging.

CTS handled the sale and provided joint training and installation services to DPS. "Digital Alert Systems' DASEOC has been specifically designed to meet both EAS and next-generation IPAWS requirements, and will provide a major enhancement to Texas' public alerting capabilities," said Peter Albera, strategic account manager, CTS. "This deployment sets a model for Texas counties and cities to follow, in terms of the technology options they should pursue to improve their public warning capabilities."