The Emergency Notification Blog

Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) Study Synopsis

Friday, 31 May 2013 12:10 by Global Security Systems

Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) Study Synopsis

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning system (IPAWS) Program Management Office (PMO) has contracted with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) to evaluate radio broadcast data system (RBDS) technology for use in the IPAWS architecture. This one year study is scheduled to conclude in September 2010.
The IPAWS vision is to provide the American public with critical and timely hazard alerts and warning information that saves lives and property during emergencies and natural disasters. This is accomplished by an architecture which provides integrated services and capabilities to Federal, State, territorial, tribal, and local authorities that enable them to alert and warn their respective communities via multiple communications methods.
RBDS technologies are currently in use by many FM broadcast stations, providing services in addition to their main broadcast content. These services utilize subsidiary carriers, frequencies which are combined with and broadcast with their normal audio programming. The most commonly encountered subcarrier is the 57 kHz RBDS signal, which often conveys the station call letters, slogan, and/or artist and title information displayed by many FM receivers. The North American RBDS standard was introduced in 1993 and was based in part upon the pre-existing European Radio Data Standard (RDS).
RBDS technologies have already been employed to distribute digital emergency alert messages through FM radio stations. To improve the speed and penetration of Federal, State, and Local emergency alerts and warnings, FEMA is evaluating this technology to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the alerts and warnings distribution infrastructure.
To support the evaluation, NGC conducted a three month operational demonstration of RBDS technology implemented by three vendor partners: Global Security Systems’ (GSS) AlertFM system, Alertus Technologies (Alertus), and Metis Secure Solutions (Metis). During the operational period, which extended from March 8-June 7 2010, the systems were used by emergency managers for real-world notifications as well as specific witnessed scenario demonstrations. The demonstrated scenarios comprised a campus security incident scenario, a regional pandemic scenario, and a localized natural disaster scenario. The witnessed demonstrations were conducted on individual dates at specific campuses and at specific counties. The specific dates and locations for the witnessed scenarios were the following:
1. Campus Security Incident
a. 25 March 2010 – County of Oktibbeha, MS, Mississippi State University (MSU), Starkville MS
b. 13 April  2010 – Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Pittsburgh PA
c. 4 May 2010 – Gallaudet University (GAL), Washington DC
2. Regional Pandemic
a. 12 May 2010 – Mississippi Counties of Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, County of Mobile Alabama, Pearl MS, NGC Ingalls Shipyard.
3. Localized Natural Disaster
a. 16 March 2010 – Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph MO
b. 6 May 2010 – Shelby County, TN
c. 19 May 2010 – American University (AU), Howard University (HU), Georgetown University (GU), and George Washington University (GW), Washington DC
Data was collected from users of the vendor partner systems who received messages during the witnessed demonstrations. This data was collected in the form of survey responses; the survey responses were collected and analyzed by the Mississippi State University (MSU) Social Science Research Center (SSRC). Additional tailored survey response data was collected from alert originators, broadcasters using RBDS technology, and consumer electronics manufacturers who may incorporate RBDS technology into their products. In addition to survey data, data related to real-world events during the operational period and technical data related to system performance was also collected.
All data is being analyzed to evaluate RBDS technology against the FEMA-specified IPAWS Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) and Additional Performance Factors (APFs). The study results will be documented in a report to the IPAWS PMO that will be completed at the end of September.

 

RBDS Study Synopsis.pdf (183.84 kb)

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New FM Radio Based Emergency Notification System Available in Louisiana

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 10:25 by Global Security Systems

State of Louisiana
Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 22, 2013

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mike Steele
Communications Director
Mike.Steele@la.gov<mailto:Mike.Steele@la.gov>
(225) 925-3966 - Office
(225) 788-0095 - Cell


New FM Radio Based Emergency Notification System Available in Louisiana

ALERT FM system will improve emergency notifications for the public from the state, parish officials and college leaders

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana has completed the implementation of the ALERT FM and GSSNet systems across the state, improving the way the state delivers voice and text emergency notifications to the public, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness announced today.

GOHSEP will use the ALERT FM system to send out its emergency alerts, as will emergency managers from all 64 parishes and 42 colleges and universities across the state. ALERT FM is an FM radio-based emergency notification system that will help Louisiana better keep citizens, schools, businesses, and first responders informed of critical information during natural or man-made disasters.

"Because Louisiana experiences both natural and manmade disasters, the state needs a reliable, redundant way to provide alerts and notifications quickly to our citizens, said Kevin Davis, GOHSEP Director. "In order to make sure that we are communicating with the public during the most extreme circumstances, we acquired ALERT FM and GSSNet, which will provide the State, the parishes and colleges and universities with a redundant means of keeping our citizens informed."

"One of Louisiana's most important public safety programs is the Amber Alert System.  As a law enforcement officer and a father, nothing is more important than the wellbeing of our children," said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent.  "ALERT FM will provide us the ability to disseminate critical information regarding child abductions in a timely manner to assist law enforcement in making successful recoveries."

Some parishes have already started testing their connection with this site.   The free ALERT FM app is currently available for download to Apple and Android devices.  The public can also purchase an ALERT FM receiver.

The GSSNet CAP-EAS system will be used by GOHSEP and the Louisiana State Police to broadcast voice-based emergency information including Amber Alerts, evacuation notices, and weather warnings and instructions across TV and radio stations. These systems provide a complete end-to-end, satellite-based voice and text emergency notification system for the state.

ALERT FM is unique when compared to other notification systems because it delivers emergency messages using the data subcarrier of local FM radio transmission towers. The use of this pre-existing network of FM towers provides overlapping and redundant signal coverage for the state. Around 90 FM radio stations will participate in the ALERT FM network across the state.

These overlapping stations ensure message distribution over a large "FM footprint" which gives emergency managers the ability to reach their intended recipients.

GOHSEP and LSP will also use GSS's Alert Studio (a FEMA approved alert origination software tool) to activate the state's Emergency Alert System to distribute voice-based emergency messages across the entire state or for specific regions. The messages are created in Alert Studio and then distributed across the GSSNet satellite system to EAS encoders at Local Primary 1 and 2 (LP1/LP2) FM radio stations across Louisiana.

The voice messages are then broadcast over the radio to the public. Radio and TV stations across Louisiana monitor the LP1 and LP2 stations and relay the EAS message over their frequency to their audience once it is received at the primary stations. Alert Studio can create, retrieve, and disseminate these alerts and messages in multiple formats-MP3, live text to speech, and live recorded audio- to the selected area.

FOR THE PUBLIC

The public can access ALERT FM information by purchasing an ALERT FM receiver or using a free using an app that is available for both Apple and Android devices.

Using ALERT FM, citizens will be able to receive a variety of local messages that might include NOAA weather warnings, school closings, road closures, and evacuation and re-entry instructions on ALERT FM receivers and the ALERT FM smartphone App.

ALERT FM receivers are small, light-weight, and easy-to-program and are available for around $40 with no annual contracts from select retailers or www.alertfm.com<http://www.alertfm.com>.

The ALERT FM App is available for both Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and Android devices. The Apple iOS version is currently available for free download from Apple App Store (http://imap.tv/2k) and the Android version is available for free in the Google Play Store (http://imap.tv/fmgp).

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"Alert Application- Weather Warnings available via radio, smartphones"

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 14:14 by Global Security Systems

Ruston Daily Leader article- Monday, April 22, 2013 

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ALERT FM Launched in Aruba for First Responder Notification

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 09:06 by Global Security Systems

ALERT FM App Launched in Aruba for First Responder Notification
GSS and WDT Collaborate on Project

JACKSON, MS & NORMAN, OK – April 22, 2013- Global Security Systems, LLC (“GSS”), experts in the aggregation of emergency information through multiple contact paths, and Weather Decision Technologies, Inc.® (“WDT”), an industry leader in weather app development, announced today that the Google Android version of the ALERT FM App has been launched in the country of Aruba as part of a first responder notification system. The companies worked jointly to provide the Aruban government with a complete end-to-end App-based communication system.
 
“WDT’s mobile development skills and our message origination capabilities allowed us to expand our joint technology into the Caribbean,” said Matthew Straeb, GSS Executive Vice President. “We are able to provide the Aruban government with a solution to communicate with first responders via Android-based smartphones.”
 
As part of this project, the ALERT FM App has been provided to 75 first responders for download on to their Samsung GT-S5690L smartphones. Emergency officials were also trained to send a message using the Alert Studio message origination software. This web-based portal will allow administrators to create and send a message directly to the ALERT FM App.
 
“The ALERT FM App-based notification system will provide a much needed communication tool for our fire, police, and other emergency personnel,” said Jaime Donata, Director of the Aruban Crisis Management Office. “It will be a great benefit to our nation.”

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About Global Security Systems, LLC (“GSS”)
Global Security Systems is a systems integrator, service provider and manufacturer of the ALERT FM, Alert Studio and GSSNet satellite data delivery system.  GSS has participated in the development of IPAWS based systems, is a member of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service systems committee, and is actively involved with several EAS and CAP committees.  The GSS nationwide GSSNet satellite data delivery system for emergency alerts currently is in operation on over 400 radio stations in 17 states and Canada; is growing daily; and includes the ability to generate and deliver CAP messages. Corporate websites: www.alertfm.com and www.gssnet.us.

About Weather Decision Technologies, Inc (“WDT”)
Founded in 2000, Weather Decision Technologies is a high technology leader in the weather industry, providing life-safety applications and weather decision support services and systems to our partners and customers. WDT's iMap® services provide dynamic, web-based and mobile interactive mapping
solutions for the world's leading local media companies. WDT maintains operational offices in Norman, Oklahoma, and Atlanta, Georgia. Corporate websites: wdtinc.com and weatherops.com.

ALERT FM App Press Release- Aruba.pdf (231.01 kb)

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Ouachita rolling out warning system

Thursday, 18 April 2013 09:44 by Global Security Systems

from the News Star- http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20130418/NEWS01/304180342/Ouachita-rolling-out-warning-system

Ouachita rolling out warning system
Written by Scott Rogers

Apr. 17 thenewsstar.com

Ouachita Parish Homeland Security officials continue to roll out the ALERT FM system to provide local residents an early warning system for severe weather.

The department began implementing the ALERT FM sys tem this year after parish officials learned it couldn't afford a severe weather siren warning system.


In late 2011, Ouachita Parish Homeland Security started looking into a project to install towers equipped with sirens throughout the parish that would activate in dangerous weather.

That project involved installing 60 towers in Ouachita Parish — 14 in Monroe, another six in West Monroe and the rest would be scattered throughout the parish.

The expected cost was $2 million for the purchase of equipment and installation of the 60 towers, plus weekly maintenance costs.

That plan was scrapped last year because it was cost prohibitive.

"It's not going to happen in the foreseeable future. It's a great idea, but it's too costly, and we don't have the money to pay for it," said Ouachita Parish Homeland Security assistant director Artice Dowdy.

He said because residents are spread out through Ouachita Parish, it was possible 60 towers wouldn't be enough to cover the entire parish.

Dowdy believes the ALERT FM system is a good alternative and believes it will provide a number of benefits once fully implemented.

ALERT FM allows the Office of Homeland Security to notify residents of emergency events via ALERT FM receivers and smartphone applications for Apple IOS and Google Android.

Alerts can include severe weather warnings, homeland security notices, hurricane evacuation instructions, utility notices, plant or school closings and traffic alerts.

To receive public information such as school closings, road closures, weather warnings or weather instructions, residents will need to purchase an ALERT FM receiver or download the ALERT FM application on their smartphones.

ALERT FM receivers are small, lightweight devices that receive messages using the data subcarrier of local FM radio stations.

ALERT FM receivers can be purchased for about $40. The device is smaller than most smartphones. They can be purchased at Tyner-Petrus Hardware in Monroe and West Monroe or ordered at www.alertfm.com.

The Apple application is available for free download from the Apple App Store. The Android free version is available in the Google Play Store.

The state provided the Ouachita Parish Office of Homeland Security with 50 receivers, which will be given to schools.

Ouachita_rolling_out_warning_system.pdf (3.30 kb)

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Lincoln Parish Implements ALERT FM as an Emergency Notification Platform

Monday, 15 April 2013 10:13 by Global Security Systems

Lincoln Parish, LA Press Release

Lincoln Parish Implements ALERT FM as an Emergency Notification Platform
Residents, businesses, schools, and first responders to benefit

Ruston- April 15, 2013- The Lincoln Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (“OHSEP”) announced today that Lincoln Parish is implementing ALERT FM as part of its parish-wide notification capabilities. ALERT FM will allow the OHSEP office to notify residents of emergency information via ALERT FM receivers -that receive messages using the data subcarrier of all local Lincoln Parish FM radio stations- and a smartphone application for both Apple iOS and Google Android.  This new system was fully funded by an EHP grant obtained by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (“GOHSEP”)

“We are very excited about adding ALERT FM to our notification capabilities,” said Kip Franklin, Lincoln Parish OHSEP Director. “ALERT FM will allow us to send local emergency information directly to mobile receivers or smartphones no matter where you travel. As part of the system funded by GOHSEP, Lincoln Parish was issued fifty of the mobile receivers. These units were distributed to all parish public and private schools, universities, city and parish public works, city, parish and  town government offices, police and fire departments, hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living agencies. We would like to encourage parish residents to purchase either an ALERT FM mobile receiver or download the ALERT FM App on their smartphone device. Purchasing one of the ALERT FM receivers, which are light-weight, small and easy to program, will allow parish residents to receive information regarding school closings, road closures, weather warnings, local emergencies and post emergency instructions.  They can be purchased  locally at Hi-Tech Computers, 715 West California Ave., Ruston, La. or by going to  www.alertfm.com with guaranteed 2-3 day delivery.”

The ALERT FM App provides local emergency information plus award-winning weather. It is available for both Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and Google Android devices. The App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes (http://imap.tv/2k) or Google Play (http://imap.tv/fmgp) stores. In-App purchases are optional for both versions.

 “ALERT FM provides parish residents with the multiple means to receive valuable information from local officials no matter where they are located in the parish,” Jim Lowery, general manager of Global Security Systems, LLC (manufacturer of ALERT FM)

For more information visit www.alertfm.com.
###


About ALERT FM
ALERT FM is owned and operated by Global Security Systems, LLC (GSS) of Jackson, Miss. It is a personal alert and messaging system that enables state and local government and private sector officials to create and send emergency information to targeted recipients. Potential information includes severe weather warnings, homeland security notices, hurricane evacuation instructions, utility notices, plant or school closings, employee notifications and traffic alerts. First responders, school officials, citizens, and businesses can receive this information based on geographic or organizational groupings through specially designed ALERT FM receivers or any device equipped with a standard FM chip. ALERT FM has been implemented at the university, state, county and multi-county levels. More than 80 million people in 17 states have access to ALERT FM technology.

LP Alert FM News Release, edited.pdf (232.40 kb)

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Global Security Systems Intros Multi-Language Text Crawling & Audio for RDS Text Alert Software

Thursday, 11 April 2013 08:39 by Global Security Systems

Global Security Systems Intros Multi-Language Text Crawling and Audio for RDS Text Alert Software
Apr 7, 2013 2:14 AM

http://radiomagonline.com/currents/products/global_security_systems_intros_multi-language_text_crawling_and_audio_for_rds_text_alert_software_0407/

Las Vegas, NV - Apr 5, 2013 - Global Security Systems (GSS) has introduced Multi-Language On-Screen Text Crawling and Audio emergency alert capabilities on Alert FM, its radio-based text-messaging alert software.

Implemented through the Sage Digital Endec, the Multi-Language Text Crawling and Audio is compliant with the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Emergency Alert System (EAS) for broadcasters, and meets Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Open Infrastructure requirements.

Sage will demonstrate how its Digital Endec displays text and plays audio from CAP language-tagged information blocks in the language selected by the station, when that language is present in the CAP message. In addition, Sage will show its text-to-speech conversion for French Canadian and Spanish.

GSS, a company that specializes in CAP alert origination, satellite and internet dissemination, as well as its radio-based Alert FM, will showcase server-based text-to-speech application that allows a wide range of languages to be converted to audio, when attached to the CAP message. The GSS demonstration will feature server-side conversion for Thai text-to-speech.

The Sage Endec will have a live connection to Canada's National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination (NAAD) system, an IPAWS-like national system using the CAP-CP dialect of CAP. According to Sage, more than 150 Sage Digital Endecs are already in daily use in Canada, using either the NAAD system or the province-based NetAlert system.

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Memphis/ Shelby County Residents to Benefit from the ALERT FM App

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 12:17 by Global Security Systems

Memphis/ Shelby County Residents to Benefit from the ALERT FM App
Available for Apple iOS and Google Android Devices

MEMPHIS – April 10, 2013- The Shelby County Office of Preparedness announced today that the ALERT FM App is now available for residents to download onto their Apple iOS or Google Android devices. This emergency notification smartphone application is an expansion of the ALERT FM notification system that was purchased by the Memphis/ Shelby County UASI in 2008 to keep residents notified of weather warnings, school closings, evacuation notices, road closures and other critical information.

 “Along with the ALERT FM receivers, the ALERT FM App gives Shelby County residents a portable means to receive critical information directly from my office,” said Bob Nations, Director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. “The App is a great way for residents to stay informed using the device that they carry with them everywhere.”

The ALERT FM App can be downloaded for free from both the Apple iTunes (http://imap.tv/2k) and Google Play (http://imap.tv/fmgp) stores just by simply searching for “ALERT FM”.  Upon the initial launch, you will need to input your zip code so that you can receive local Shelby County alerts. Users of the App will also have access to current/ extended forecasts, radar, and watches/ warnings associated with your current location and one saved location.  Push notifications, map overlay, and audio are available to users through in-app purchases.

“The ALERT FM App will allow Shelby County residents to receive local emergency information via ALERT FM plus award-winning weather via iMap’s Weather Radio,” said Jim Lowery, General Manager of Global Security Systems, LLC. “It will allow residents to receive the necessary information needed to protect themselves and their families.”

###

About Global Security Systems, LLC (“GSS”)
Global Security Systems is a systems integrator, service provider and manufacturer of the ALERT FM, Alert Studio and GSSNet, a satellite data delivery system.  GSS has participated in the development of IPAWS based systems, is a member of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service systems committee, and is actively involved with several EAS and CAP committees.  The GSS nationwide GSSNet satellite data delivery system for emergency alerts currently is in operation on over 400 radio stations in 17 states and Canada; is growing daily; and includes the ability to generate and deliver CAP messages. Corporate website: www.alertfm.com 

ALERT FM App Press Release-Shelby.pdf (384.28 kb)

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LaSalle Parish Implements ALERT FM as an Emergency Notification Platform

Tuesday, 9 April 2013 10:56 by Global Security Systems

LaSalle Parish Implements ALERT FM as an Emergency Notification Platform
Residents, businesses, schools, and first responders to benefit

Jena- April 9, 2013- La Salle Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (“OHSEP”) announced today that the parish has successfully implemented ALERT FM as part of its parish-wide notification capabilities. ALERT FM will allow the OHSEP office to notify residents of emergency information via ALERT FM receivers -that receive messages using the data subcarrier of local FM radio stations- and a smartphone application for both Apple iOS and Google Android.  This new system was fully funded by an EHP grant obtained by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

“We believe that this new technology will be an excellent addition to our parish’s notification capabilities,” said Scott Franklin, OHSEP director. “The  ALERT FM App, along with the ALERT FM receivers, will allow residents to get this localized information no matter where they travel in the parish.”

To receive public information such as school closings, road closures, weather warnings, or post weather instructions, residents will need to download the free ALERT FM App on their smartphone device or can purchase an ALERT FM receiver.  ALERT FM Receivers are small, light-weight, and easy to program. They can be purchased  at www.alertfm.com with guaranteed 2-3 day delivery.

The ALERT FM App provides local emergency information plus award-winning weather. It is available for both Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and Google Android devices. The App can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple iTunes (http://imap.tv/2k) or Google Play (http://imap.tv/fmgp) stores. In-App purchases are optional for both versions.

 “ALERT FM provides parish residents with the multiple means to receive valuable information from local officials no matter where they are located in the parish,” Jim Lowery, general manager of Global Security Systems, LLC (manufacturer of ALERT FM)

For more information visit www.alertfm.com.
###
About ALERT FM
ALERT FM is owned and operated by Global Security Systems, LLC (GSS) of Jackson, Miss. It is a personal alert and messaging system that enables state and local government and private sector officials to create and send emergency information to targeted recipients. Potential information includes severe weather warnings, homeland security notices, hurricane evacuation instructions, utility notices, plant or school closings, employee notifications and traffic alerts. First responders, school officials, citizens, and businesses can receive this information based on geographic or organizational groupings through specially designed ALERT FM receivers or any device equipped with a standard FM chip. ALERT FM has been implemented at the university, state, county and multi-county levels. More than 80 million people in 17 states have access to ALERT FM technology.

La Salle Parish Implements ALERT FM as an Emergency Notification Platform.pdf (428.92 kb)

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Gibson County EMA Using New ALERT FM App

Tuesday, 9 April 2013 08:30 by Global Security Systems

Gibson Co. EMA Using New Alert FM App
By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com
Story Created: Apr 9, 2013 at 6:14 PM CDT
Story Updated: Apr 9, 2013 at 7:27 PM CDT

 http://www.wbbjtv.com/news/local/Gibson-Co-EMA-Using-New-Alert-FM-App-202219701.html


TRENTON, Tenn. - Tornado season in West Tennessee is here, and now Gibson County has a smartphone app to help keep residents safe during an emergency.

It is part of the Alert FM system, which works off of a commercial FM radio station signal.

Gibson County emergency management officials said it is another way they can reach residents during an emergency, in addition to National Weather Service warnings.

Emergency management officials said the app does more than just send out warnings about severe weather.

"We can also send out messages about school closings or hazardous material spills, road closings, whatever message would be deemed necessary to keep our citizens safe and aware of what's going on," said Rickey Graves, Director of the Gibson County Emergency Management Agency.

Residents can download the free app on their Android or iPhone.

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