State and Local Alert
Most jurisdictions in the U.S. already have a state and local alert system – IPAWS. The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System was implemented in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Although a welcome improvement on previous state and local alert systems, IPAWS is acknowledged to have issues with coverage and software compatibility.
Other criticisms of IPAWS include limited multi-lingual support and the lack of two-way communication – factors that could be vital in an emergency situation. It can also be expensive for state and local alert agencies to become IPAWS-authorized, and consequently many jurisdictions rely on their state or federal systems to provide local emergency alerts – a scenario that was acknowledged by the Federal Communications Commission in 2016 to potentially cause fatal delays.
New Jersey Counties Place their Residents at Risk
In New Jersey, state-wide access to IPAWS is only available to the New Jersey State Police. As of August 2017, no other state authority is IPAWS-authorized. New Jersey State Police can issue state-wide emergency alerts or geo-targeted alerts to specific locations within the state. However, potential delays in communicating a localized emergency situation, obtaining the authority to use the IPAWS system, and sending a geo-targeted alert can prolong the length of time it takes to react, understand and respond.
Only four of the twenty-one counties in New Jersey have their own authorization to access the IPAWS state and local alert system. The remaining nineteen counties – including three of the four counties in the U.S. most likely to suffer a natural disaster – have to rely on New Jersey State Police to warn their residents of the risk of danger. The lack of a state and local alert system in Ocean County, Cape May County and Monmouth County particularly places their residents at greater risk.
The Rave Alert State and Local Alert Platform
Rave Alert is a state and local alert Software-as-a-Service platform that is IPAWS-OPEN and addresses many of the issues state and local authorities have with the federally-sanctioned system. Using many more channels of communication than the IPAWS system to send emergency alerts and maximize coverage, the Rave Alert platform can be accessed from any Internet-connected device without the need to purchase additional hardware or install additional software.
Rave Alert supports thirty-four languages and two-way communication via voice, email and SMS text. It can simultaneously send state and local alerts in both short-form (160 characters) and long-form (1,000 characters) at a rate of more than two thousand messages per second via a public safety grade infrastructure of multiple carriers, carrier networks and aggregators, and geo-redundant data centers. Consequently, Rave Alert gets the right message to the right people at the right time.
Using Rave Alert to Coordinate Emergency Responses
When a state or local authority implements the Rave Alert state and local alert platform, we also provide the authority with a web-based management portal. The portal has many valuable features, one of which is the facility for residents to create profiles about themselves. This facility can be used to add additional methods of communication, special requirements or mobility issues, and to request they receive alerts in a specific language. Residents can also opt into dedicated contact groups.
The purpose of having dedicated contact groups is so that residents with special skills can be called upon in times of emergency. For example, a dedicated contact group could be created for CERT-qualified residents or for those who have medical training. The members of these groups can be coordinated during an emergency via the Rave Alert platform in order to provide real-time situational awareness, deliver assistance to where it is needed most, and prevent incidents from further escalation.
Using Rave Alert for Non-Emergency Notifications
A further advantage Rave Alert has over the IPAWS state and local alert system is that Rave Alert can be used to notify residents and visitors of non-emergency events. By opting into additional groups created in the management portal, residents can request to receive notifications relating to (for example) community events, the opening of special attractions, non-emergency road closures and the weather.
Rave Alert also provides an SMS opt-in/opt-out facility residents and visitors can use to join and leave groups at will. For example, a visitor could text “WEATHER” to the Rave Alert dedicated short code number in order to receive a daily weather forecast by SMS text while they are staying in the area. They then text “STOP” to the same short code number in order to be removed from the group when they are departing the area. This facility offers numerous possibilities for local communities.
Request a Free Demo of Rave Alert
If you have responsibility for safety, communication or tourism in your community, you are invited to contact us and request a free demo of Rave Alert in action. Our technical experts will discuss your motives for implementing a Rave Alert state and local alert platform in order to find out what your exact requirements are, before organizing a free demo at a time that is convenient for you and any other personnel you believe may benefit from implementing Rave Alert from Rave Mobile Safety.