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Washington Post Advocates Mandatory EAS Alerts For Internet, Phones

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Where’s an Emergency Alert System for the Internet and the phone?

Melissa Bell
Washington Post
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

At 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, television programs and radio shows will be interrupted with a familiar message: “This is a test. This is only a test.”

It will be the first time the Federal Emergency Management Agency has attempted to alert the entire nation at once with its Emergency Alert System. While the program hopes to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible, two means of communication are still missing from the system: the Internet and mobile phones.

FEMA launched a national alert system for phones in May, called PLAN, that reaches some smartphones on some national providers. The program sends out free text messages about emergency situations. However, only about 50 percent of Americans own smartphones and the program has not fully been adopted across the country.

It would be interesting to see the agency undertaking something similar in partnerships with major Internet companies. Could it be possible for the Google logo to turn into an alert message? Or for Twitter’s promoted ads — which appear in user timelines — to be a message from FEMA?

Full story here.

This article was posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

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