Senate Approves Wireless Emergency Alert System

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Washington - Sep 12, 2006 - The Senate adopted a wireless emergency alert system as part of a larger comprehensive port security bill it is debating. The Senate included language from a Commerce Committee approved bill to establish the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN). WARN is a national system for the transmission of public safety alerts across a broad variety of communications technologies including wireless technologies. The Senate action today essentially moves the Emergency Alert System out of the era of the broadcast radio and TV and into the wireless era. The intent of the system created by this amendment is to give emergency managers the ability to alert communities of other hazards such as natural disasters and manmade accidents.

The Commerce Committee bill places the proposed National Alert Office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) instead of in NOAA as proposed earlier. The action is part of House Resolution 4954.

WARN relies on the Common Alerting Protocol that has been promoted by many groups including the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

On June 26, 2006, the White House issued an Executive Order to give the DHS the lead on creation and management of a national Public Alert and Warning System with the assistance of NOAA.

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