Business continuity and disaster recoveryFEMA will be aggregator/gateway for CMAS

Published 4 June 2008

FEMA said it will be the aggregator and gateway for the Commercial Mobile Alert System, a voluntary nationwide emergency alert system

Last Friday FEMA announced it will perform the unified aggregator/gateway role for the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS). In April the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a plan to create this nationwide emergency alert system which will utilize text messages delivered to mobile devices. Participation in CMAS is voluntary for wireless providers. Mobile device users will be able to opt-out of receiving the alerts. In the aggregator/gateway role, FEMA will be responsible for verifying the authenticity of the alerts received from federal, state, and local sources, and then for passing them on to commercial mobile phone providers, who will in turn send them on to their subscribers in the appropriate geographic areas. The system is expected to be up and running by 2010.

Per the original plan of the FCC, there will be three categories of warnings by participating wireless carriers:

  • Presidential Alerts: national emergency-related alerts that would preempt any other pending alerts, that is, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, nuclear incidents
  • Imminent Threat Alerts: alerts with information on emergencies that may pose an imminent risk to people’s lives or well-being, that is, school shootings, tornados, hurricanes
  • Child Abduction Emergency/AMBER Alerts