Notification /alert systems

  • Emergency alertsSmall Virginia town debates cost of emergency siren system

    Installing an emergency siren system in Danville, Virginia would be too expensive, Danville fire chief David Eagle said during a recent update to the Danville city council on emergency notification systems. The city’s last siren system was discontinued about twenty-five years ago. A new system would cost between $300,000 and $400,000 to install, and would incur annual maintenance cost.

  • Disaster alertsNew phone alerts for extreme weather events may prevent casualties in India

    India has a mobile phone subscriber base exceeding 929 million people and this is expected to touch 1.15 billion by the end of 2014. An alert system developed for mobiles could reach an estimated 97 percent of the population. Computer science undergraduates have created image-based mobile phone alerts, connected to the Weather Research and Forecasting system.

  • EarthquakesEarthquake early warning? There’s an app for that

    Researchers from the University of California have unveiled a smartphone app designed to provide users an early warning of approaching earthquakes. Based on the proximity of the user to the earthquake’s epicenter, the app will provide alerts of between a few seconds and one minute before a tremor hits.

  • EarthquakesBetter earthquake early-warning system

    Geophysicists have developed a new way of calculating the magnitude of an imminent earthquake by making better use of measurements of the compression waves produced early in the event. They say that the technique could be used to create a better early-warning system for earthquakes that could be used worldwide.

  • Earthquake warningCalif.’s earthquake early warning system bill approved

    California’s earthquake early warning system, State Senate Bill 135, was approved by Governor Jerry Brown. The bill requires the Office of Emergency Services (OES) to develop a comprehensive statewide earthquake early warning system to alert Californians in advance of shaking from an earthquake.

  • Earthquakes warningImproving earthquake early warning systems

    Earthquake early warning systems may provide the public with crucial seconds to prepare for severe shaking. For California, a new study suggests upgrading current technology and relocating some seismic stations would improve the warning time, particularly in areas poorly served by the existing network — south of San Francisco Bay Area to north Los Angeles and north of the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • First respondersHelping first responders identify chemical, biological, and radiological agents

    The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has expanded the reach and capabilities of its rapid urban plume modeling and hazard assessment system, CT-Analyst, by providing a commercial license to Valencia, California-based Safe Environment Engineering (SEE) for the fields of use of public safety, industrial safety and monitoring, and environmental monitoring. CT Analyst is a tool designed to provide first responders with fast and accurate predictions of chemical, biological, and radiological agent airborne transport in urban environments. CT Analyst will be integrated into the existing product line of SEE’s Lifeline MultiMeterViewer software suite.

  • PreparednessArkansas deploys first statewide SmartPrepare system

    Arkansas uses citizen-supplied data for more efficient emergency planning and response. The service allows citizens to create secure profiles online which contain vital details about their household. Public safety officials can use the data to gain greater insight into their communities and identify potential challenges in order to prepare more effectively for disasters, allocate resources, and expedite emergency response and recovery efforts during events.

  • Earthquakes warningsU.S. nation-wide quake early-warning system

    The United States is likely to be struck by a major earthquake within the next twenty years. Scientists say that instead of waiting to experience a devastating earthquake and then invest in preventative measures for subsequent earthquakes, the country should be proactive and take action before the event. Investing in a nationwide earthquake warning system will save lives, prevent destruction of key infrastructure, and reduce the size of the economic loss that may result from an earthquake.

  • DisastersBuilding disaster-relief phone apps on the fly

    By Larry Hardesty

    Researchers combine powerful new Web standards with the intuitive, graphical MIT App Inventor to aid relief workers with little programming expertise.

  • Early warningCalifornia mulls costly earthquake early-warning system

    The price of an early warning system which would alert California officials about an earthquake within sixty seconds before a major temblor strikes would be $80 million. The California legislature passed a bill on 13 September, requiring the state to develop the earthquake warning system, but it is unclear whether Governor Jerry Brown will sign the bill.

  • DisastersNASA, DHS to demonstrate disaster rescue tool

    NASA and DHS are collaborating on a new radar device which detects heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. The device, known as the Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER), can locate individuals buried under as much as thirty feet of crushed materials, hidden behind twenty feet of solid concrete, or from a distance of 100 feet in open spaces.

  • Volcano disastersTraining volcano scientists saves lives

    Scientists and technicians who work at volcano observatories in nine countries are visiting Mount St. Helens and the U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Science Center’s Cascades Volcano Observatory this week to learn techniques for monitoring active volcanoes. The International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring is designed to assist other nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks from eruptions.

  • Emergency alertsU.S. Emergency Alerting System (EAS) vulnerable to hacking

    The U.S. Emergency Alerting System (EAS) is designed to allow for quick alerts during an emergency. Researchers uncovered vulnerabilities in the digital alerting systems, vulnerabilities which allow an attacker remotely to log in over the Internet and manipulate any system function. The attacker could disrupt a TV or radio station’s ability to transmit and could disseminate false emergency information.

  • DisastersGauging how residents in storm-prone regions react in the event of an imminent storm

    StormView software program gauges how residents of hurricane-prone regions react to warnings and prepare for storms. The program is designed to be as realistic as possible in order accurately to assess how people would react in the event of an imminent storm.