The New York City Office of Emergency Management will broadcast six text messaging alerts today to test the new Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS).
This is the first deployment of CMAS, which is part of an integrated alerting and warning strategy developed by FEMA and partner organizations. Called IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) it is designed to reach more Americans in a more efficient way, it allows for centralized control of alert creation and dissemination.
CMAS is designed to target all cell phones (that are enabled by the user and carrier) in a specific geographic location – even roaming phones. This is a warning capability that we do not currently have in the United States and will prove valuable in the case of localized threats. Think tornado warnings, hazmat leaks, wildfires, flooding… CMAS will give emergency managers the ability to get an alert to those who are in immediate danger, but may not be in front a computer, watching TV or listening to a radio. Good stuff.
CMAS will continue to roll out across the country this Spring, and I encourage everyone to talk to their wireless carrier about how to activate the service.