Oct 232013



From Radioink  http://bit.ly/1fVBny2

The Department of Homeland Security announced a pilot project with NPR Labs, to demonstrate the delivery of the first-ever, real-time emergency alert messages to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in five Gulf states. 25 NPR affiliates in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas agreed to participate in the pilot project to transmit emergency alert messages, such as weather alerts, to 475 individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in the stations’ listening areas to determine how effectively the messages are being sent and received.

NPR Labs Executive Director Mike Starling said, “This demonstration project is a crucial first step in improving the technology for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing during emergencies. I want to sincerely thank the 25 stations for agreeing to participate in this demonstration project that is working to test the latest technology to ensure that all individuals, including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, can be informed of emergencies when electricity, the Internet and other communications channels are unavailable.”

The public radio stations participating in the pilot will receive emergency alert messages from FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, where the network operations center of the Public Radio Satellite System will uplink the warnings to the participating stations. The stations will then broadcast the emergency alerts to specially designed FM Radio Data System radio receivers that alert the participants with a flashing indicator. The receivers can display the alert message through the receiver’s display, and the participants can connect a strobe light or bed-shaker alerting device to the receiver, helping ensure alerts are noticed day and night.

– Thanks to NVRC, Fairfax