Virginia Expands Emergency Communication System

The Emergency Management Network, or EMnet, also lets localities send EAS messages directly to their local media during emergencies and disasters.
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Local governments in central Virginia and the Hampton Roads coastal area are getting a new satellite-based digital alerting system that will allow them to keep communication with the Virginia Emergency Operations Center in the event of phone or Internet loss.

The Emergency Management Network, or EMnet, also lets localities send EAS messages directly to their local media during emergencies and disasters.

EMnet isVirginia’s primary means of issuing Emergency Alert System messages.

Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said the system will allow local governments to send EAS messages more quickly to media.

VDEM is working with designated localities to conduct site surveys. Once the surveys are completed, EMnet will be installed in facilities designated by localities, such as local emergency operations centers or 911 centers. Installation for all 22 sites is scheduled to be completed by the end of summer.

The General Assembly approved funding last year to expand the network to local governments in Hampton Roads and central Virginia to target dense populations in advance of hurricanes and other emergencies. The funding covers equipment, installation and a three-year license.

The Virginia State Police and installed EMnet in 2004 and northern Virginia localities installed the system in 2006.

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