Emergency Alert and Warning Systems: The Uses of Wireless Emergency Alerts

AllsWell Team

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Years ago, it was difficult for the authorities to warn people of sudden emergencies, and many were caught by surprise when a hurricane, flood, or heatwave struck. As a result, they needed to develop a faster and more efficient way of warning the public of emergencies.

An early alert and warning system deployment can be traced to the February 20, 1971 incident. A national emergency alert system test went wrong, voicing a nuclear war false alarm that shocked the listeners. Yet it showed just how vital an alert and warning system was to a country's preparedness in times of an emergency.

If you're curious about emergency alert systems, this article is for you. Emergency alert and warning systems draw the line between order and chaos in an emergency when lives are at risk, and there is no time to consult with the emergency personnel. Read on for more exciting details. 

Emergency Alert and Warning Systems 

An emergency alert warning system is a public system consisting of broadcast, satellite, and cable television, radio, social media, mobile devices, and any other warning device to provide information about a current or future danger. 

Wireless emergency alerts, or WEA, are emergency notifications broadcasted from cell phones via radio frequency. These alerts are used by disaster management bodies, public safety organizations, and other government bodies to notify the public about emergencies. 

Emergency Alert Systems and Warning System Differences 

Emergency alert systems and warning systems are both designed to keep people safe. However, they have a few minor differences worth noting.

  • Emergency alert systems are primarily used in natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. Warning systems are for smaller-scale emergencies such as a chemical spill. 

  • Emergency alerts usually have to be manually initiated by an individual in charge of the system - such as an agency director. Warning systems typically run automatically and are initiated by an outside trigger, such as flood sensors placed around town to detect flooding conditions.

  • Emergency alert systems combine multiple communication channels, including email, text messages, social media posts (such as Twitter), automated phone calls (such as robocalls), etc. Warning systems used fewer touchpoints (e.g., automated phone calls).

  • Emergency alerts usually include multiple layers of backups in case the first alert doesn't work (e.g., if the phone lines are down). Warning systems typically include only one method to alert the public (such as automated phone calls) and no backup system if it fails.

You might find examples of these systems in workplace settings, schools, or public buildings. But, before we go any deeper, here are the types of emergency and alert warning systems in today's markets.

Types of Emergency and Alert Warning Systems

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

This system targets a specific geographical area and sends SMS notifications to all the mobile devices in the target area. Wireless emergency alerts are as effective as they come - with the ability to disrupt the phone's silent mode and deliver a clear, audible message to the owner.

The WEA system can be interlinked with the other public alert and warning systems to broadcast amber, presidential, blue, silver alerts, and weather emergencies. The only limitation is that the alert message is limited to 360 characters.

Outdoor Warning Systems

These systems are situated in public areas. They turn on loud alarms and warnings whenever the region is in danger. Such alerts inform people they shouldn't get out of their homes, must go to bomb shelters, etc.

The only problem with an outdoor warning system is that not everybody will hear it. Those with hearing impairment won't hear the alarm and end up in danger.

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The EAS is a public warning system that delivers information about emergencies via radio and TV broadcasts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is responsible for sending emergency messages. However, the president can also decide which message and when to deliver.

Opt in-Service System

This system sends alerts to people who have opted to receive emergency messages as an SMS service or in applications. Anyone can sign up to receive the alerts and check on their loved ones in an emergency. For example, the AllsWell Alert app lets users deliver emergency messages to selected contacts with a panic button click. If something goes wrong, you can tell your friends and family about the problem asap.

Uses of Emergency Alert and Warning Systems in Everyday Life

Besides massive disasters, emergency alert systems help reduce everyday threats. They can protect you when you are behind the wheel, start a trip, or stay alone at home.

Here's how wireless emergency alerts help in everyday life:

  1. Road Safety

Wireless emergency alerts can inform drivers about road conditions and possible hazards on the road. For example, wireless emergency alerts will ask drivers to avoid a specific area if there is a wave of traffic accidents. Similarly, suppose there is heavy rain or flooding, and water levels are rising. In that case, wireless emergency alerts will warn drivers to take necessary precautions.

  1. Emergency Management and Security

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) provide critical information to keep people safe during natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. When an emergency alert is issued, WEA can deliver life-saving information to people who subscribe to WEA-capable wireless service and those within range of a cellular or broadcast tower that receives the emergency alert.

  1. Weather Warnings

Wireless Emergency Alerts can help keep people safe during weather emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and winter storms. These messages inform subscribers in affected areas about dangerous weather situations and how to stay safe.

  1. Amber Alerts

Wireless Emergency Alerts help save lives by quickly notifying the public about missing children through AMBER alerts. When a child is reported missing to a law enforcement body, AMBER alerts can be sent via radio and television broadcasts, cable systems, satellite radio and television, digital billboards, and text messages, among other channels.

The Future of Wireless Emergency Alerts

Thanks to rapid technological advancements, the future of wireless emergency alerts looks quite promising. We already see the emergence of 5G networks, which are much faster than previous generations and are expected to provide download speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G networks.

In addition, 5G networks will have significantly greater capacity than 4G, which will allow for a much greater volume of data usage. It will open the door to new and innovative uses of wireless emergency alerts. Who knows, we're probably on our way to high-definition video alerts.

Network problems will also be eliminated by exploiting other ways to relay messages to mobile phones. These include peer-to-peer communication and mesh networks. Experts also focus on creating efficient alerts with a timer to the initial impact of the hazard.

How AllsWell Alert Can Help in Emergencies

We can say a lot about emergency alert and warning systems. However, safety is a personal matter you should take into your own hands. That's why personal safety experts have an eye on mobile phone apps to intervene in times of an emergency. AllsWell Alert is one of the best options to consider.

AllsWell Alert is a personal safety & emergency alert app for people living, commuting, or traveling alone. It combines the panic button functionality with inactivity monitoring, enabling the app to send your emergency contact an alert with your location even when you cannot press a button.

It's easy to set up and works on all Android and iOS devices.

Ready to give it a try? Start your 30-day risk-free trial today!

Final Thoughts

Disasters happen anywhere at any time and may hit in public places. Thankfully, emergency alert systems can help save lives by warning people about the location of the emergency so they can take steps to ensure their safety. A wireless emergency alert system is an essential need for any country.

If you want to strengthen personal safety, use mobile apps like AllsWell in addition to large-scale systems. They let you ask for help in any risky situation by reaching your emergency contacts.

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