ALERT FM, the system that uses the reliable FM radio platform to deliver emergency alert text messages, helped save hundreds of lives during the devastating tornados that ripped across the South last month. Microspace Communications provides a critical piece of the communication infrastructure for ALERT FM.
“In crunch time the ALERT FM platform really proved it’s effectiveness” said Greg Hurt, VP of Sales and Marketing at Microspace Communications. “We are proud to play a part in the overall solution”.
In Alabama, the ALERT FM system is deployed in 18 counties, across one-third of the state. ALERT FM uses Radio Broadcast Data Service (RBDS) FM-subcarrier technology to deliver text alerts up to 240-characters to any electronic device with ALERT FM software and an enabled FM radio receiver chip.
“With an FM receiver chip in every fixed and mobile device, the ALERT FM emergency alert text message broadcast would be ubiquitous and reach even more people during times of local or national disasters and other emergencies,” explained Robert L. Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Security Systems (GSS), parent of ALERT FM. “In addition,” adds Adams, “ALERT FM ‘wakes up’ the FM-enabled device when an emergency alert message is delivered, further enhancing public safety.”
David DuBose, Vice President and Market Manager for Cox Media Group’s Birmingham, Alabama radio stations — a seven-station cluster that played a key role in sending ALERT FM messages to help protect the community — stated, “I know we saved a lot of folks because we saw the posts on our Facebook page. Many people called our stations to say their power was off at their home due to the storms early on Wednesday morning before the killer tornados even touched down. They relied on our stations and The GSS ALERT FM system for vital information.”
Pickens County, Alabama, Emergency Management Director Ken Gibson confirmed that the ALERT FM system functioned exceptionally well during the multiple tornado storm warnings and without interruption– an advantage of the FM-based delivery system in contrast to cellular signals that are notorious for experiencing drop-outs from overload, most notably during high-volume usage like in an emergency.
In addition, ALERT FM can target FM-enabled devices in a single school, a football arena, or the entire country.
ALERT FM is a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)-compliant solution capable of delivering both audio and data feeds to radio broadcasters. More than 45 million people in 15 states have access to ALERT FM technology. State broadcast associations from Alabama, California, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, and Tennessee, and radio groups K-LOVE, Air1, Commonwealth Broadcasting, and the Cromwell Group support ALERT FM for emergency alert messages in their states and markets. ALERT FM has been implemented at the university, state, county, and multi-county levels.
About Global Security Systems and ALERT FM:
Global Security Systems (GSS) is a systems integrator, service provider, and manufacturer of the ALERT FM and GSSNet satellite delivery system. Global Security Systems has participated in the development of IPAWS-based systems, is a member of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service systems committee, and is actively involved with several EAS and CAP committees. The Global Security Systems nationwide GSSNet satellite delivery system for emergency alerts currently is in operation now at over 450 locations and growing daily. It includes the ability to generate and deliver CAP messages.
Thanks to MCC’s Carla Torrence for this capcom story.