In Michigan, starting Monday, state police and emergency managers will have direct input to key broadcast stations for public warning purposes.
“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 websites, feed electronic signs and be sent to e-mail accounts, as well as text messages to mobile devices.”
He said EMnet, a networked, monitored system proved under contract by Comlabs, is in wide use and is 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 continued in the statement.
“These early warnings will allow the broadcasting community to inform their audiences quicker, ultimately helping to save lives.”
Emergency managers have been training on the EMnet equipment with weekly tests. “The system is multilingual, with the ability to send messages in English, Spanish and French. In addition, it delivers prompt messaging; from the time an emergency manager pushes the send button to the receipt of the message, takes just 10 seconds.”