Twelve Agencies throughout the US Selected to Study Use of New FEMA System – IPAWS
February 20, 2013//Rochester, NY
Mass notifications systems are used by public safety agencies to warn citizens about local emergencies, hazards and other threats, calling huge numbers of telephones in just a few minutes time. But these systems are only available to about half of agencies in the US, and the shift from landline to mobile telephones is cutting down the effectiveness of existing systems. Hyper-Reach – an emergency notification system provider in Rochester, NY – is working to overcome the limits of existing systems and increase the use and reach of a new Federal government notification system focused on mobile telephones.
Hyper-Reach is pleased to announce that twelve public safety agencies from Maine to Oregon have been selected for a grant program that will allow unlimited emergency notification messages to mobile phones. The program provides access to the Integrated Public Awareness System (IPAWS) and a subsystem called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), developed by the Department of Homeland Security. These systems must be accessed through specialized software, and the Hyper-Reach grants will provide that access through the rest of 2013 and early 2014.
The grant program provides a year of Hyper-Reach access service to send messages through the IPAWS/CMAS system. Once approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the selected agencies will be able to send out alerts to warn citizens of many kinds of emergencies, including floods, evacuation notices, environmental dangers and other situations.
IPAWS/CMAS messages provide special capabilities not available through other emergency notification media. They are broadcast text messages, which go to every qualified mobile phone in range of a selected broadcast area. Because they are broadcast, the messages are sent immediately and do not depend on prior registration of cell phone numbers. Visitors to an area, college students and others who would typically not register for emergency notification can be reached through IPAWS/CMAS messages.
The grants were awarded to obtain a diverse sample of geography, demographics and other factors. Communities selected for these grants range in size from Barnes County, ND (population 11,056) to the state of Texas (population 22 million.) Grantees include urban areas, such as Flint, MI and rural areas, such as Carroll County, MD. In total, over 27 million people will be served by the messages sent by grantees.
“It’s great to be selected for this grant program,” said James Weed, Sr., Emergency Management Division Coordinator in Carroll County, MD, one of the grant recipients. “Being able to reach young people with mobile phones as well as visitors during a crisis adds a lot to our emergency alert capabilities.”
“We’re thrilled to be of service to these communities”, said Sam Asher, President of Hyper-Reach. “We were so excited, we expanded the list of grantees from the original ten to twelve. In addition to the research results, it’s gratifying to know that we can play a small part in helping citizens protect themselves.”
The full list of grantees is:
Barnes County Emergency Management, Valley City, ND
Carroll County Emergency Management Division, Westminster, MD
Clatsop County Emergency Management, Astoria, OR
City of Flint Police Department, Flint, MI
Galloway Township Police Department, Galloway, NJ
Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma City, OK
Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Salem, OR
Randolph County Emergency Services, Asheboro, NC
St. Louis Emergency Management Agency, St. Louis, MO
San Leandro Police Department, San Leandro, CA
Scarborough Public Safety, Scarborough, ME
Texas Division of Emergency Management, Austin, TX
Hyper-Reach (www.hyper-reach.com) is a mass-notification system with over 12 years of experience in emergency messaging. Hyper-Reach sends messages via automated telephone calls, text messaging (SMS), email, and social media, such as Twitter. Messages can be created by local personnel or automatically sent, depending on the emergency. Other uses of Hyper-Reach include Amber alerts, toxic chemical warnings, and armed shooter alerts. In addition to 911 centers, Hyper-Reach is used by law enforcement, educational institutions, and corporations.