Volunteers Needed for Pilot Project for Emergency Alerts for Deaf and Heard-of-Hearing
The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a cooperative pilot project with NPR's technology research and development group, NPR Labs, to demonstrate the delivery of the first-ever, real-time emergency alert messages to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in five Gulf states.
KEDM Public Radio and twenty-five other NPR-affiliated public radio stations throughout Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas agreed to participate in the pilot project to transmit emergency alert messages, such as weather alerts, to 475 individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in the stations’ listening areas to determine how effectively the messages are being sent and received.
The Gulf State region was selected for the demonstration because it is often subjected to extreme weather conditions. Individuals participating in the project will receive alert and warning messages through specially designed receivers capable of displaying the text messages.
The public radio stations participating in the pilot will receive emergency alert messages from FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), where the network operations center of the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) will uplink the warnings to the participating stations.
The stations will then broadcast the emergency alerts to specially designed FM Radio Data System (RDS) radio receivers that alert the participants with a flashing indicator. The receivers can display the alert message through the receiver’s display, and the participants can connect a strobe light or bed-shaker alerting device to the receiver, helping ensure alerts are noticed day and night
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