Testing Underway for Pilot Project for Emergency Alerts for Deaf and Heard-of-Hearing
The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency is now testing a cooperative pilot project with NPR's technology research and development group, NPR Labs, demonstrating the delivery of the first-ever, real-time emergency alert messages to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in five Gulf states.
The public radio stations participating in the pilot are receiving 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) uplinks the warnings to the participating stations.
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 stations 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 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
Image courtesy of Stuart Mile / FreeDigitalPhotos.net