FEMA Approval Of CAP Starts 180-Day Clock On EAS Upgrades
October 7, 2010 at 4:28 AM (PT)
The FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA)'s official adoption of version 1.2 the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) for the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) means that broadcasters will have to upgrade their EAS equipment to use the new version of CAP. Newer equipment is likely to be upgradeable via software, but some older equipment will require replacement.
The change is intended to expand emergency alert capability to as many communications devices as possible, including cell phones, PCs and other devices as well as radio and television. The adoption last week gives stations 180 days to comply, although it is unclear when the clock started on the changeover period and the FCC may grant an extension.
"The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System will allow federal, state, territorial, tribal and local officials to get critical and timely information to the public that can protect communities and save lives," said FEMA Administrator CRAIG FUGATE. "People get their news and information from a wider variety of sources today than ever before, and it's important that emergency management officials are able to reach members of the public no matter what medium they may be using. The Common Alerting Protocol gives us the opportunity to send one message over all IPAWS alert systems at the same time."
Rear Admiral (ret.) JAMES ARDEN BARNETT, JR., Chief of the FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said, "The adoption of the new CAP standard will ultimately transform AMERICA's emergency alert and warning capabilities and better enable Americans to receive these potentially life-saving alerts over television and radio broadcast stations, via the Internet, and on their cell phones. The ability to receive alerts over multiple platforms will dramatically increase the likelihood that Americans are receiving this critical information timely and are better informed to take actions that will help protect themselves and their families during emergencies."