On June 27, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS), conducted a demonstration of new technology that integrates unattended flood and wildfire sensors with IPAWS Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN). These systems have the potential to provide life-saving critical emergency alerts to people in affected areas on their mobile devices and even on vehicle infotainment systems, leading to enhanced public safety and improved emergency response in the face of natural disasters.

“The Wildland Urban Interface affects millions of Americans who live in or near areas prone to wildfires and flooding. This program is focused on developing innovative solutions that can help minimize the devastating impact on people and their communities,” said Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov, DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “S&T and FEMA IPAWS are dedicated to making long-term investments in innovative technology to ensure our nation’s first responders and emergency managers don’t face tomorrow’s floods and fires with yesterday’s tools.”

Data collected during the demonstration at the Smart Community Testbed in Stafford County, Virginia, showed that unattended field sensors are optimal alert originators for the future of emergency alerting. Unattended field sensors may generate specialized warnings for local government and alert originators, possibly changing how communities are notified of local emergencies. Unattended sensor technology paired with location-based alerting technologies can ensure warnings are only sent to relevant devices and without over-alerting.

“The IPAWS Program strives to find innovative methods to show how we can use technology integrations to alert the public where they are and enhance emergency alerting capabilities that revolutionize the way communities plan and respond to emergencies,” said Antwane Johnson, FEMA IPAWS Division Director. “The demonstration showed how IPAWS-OPEN can integrate with unattended flood and wildfire sensors to originate alerts directly into the IPAWS-OPEN for geo-targeted alert distribution and provided an excellent demonstration of IPAWS’ capabilities to also deliver alerts in Spanish to an infotainment system.”

“We are committed to the advancement of technologies that can help the public make better informed decisions during a natural disaster,” said Norman Speicher, DHS S&T Program Manager. “This demonstration is an example of our commitment to providing emergency managers with innovative solutions to overcome the growing WUI landscape and bridge the gap between time-sensitive, life-saving information to the navigation-reliant public.”

This demonstration was conducted in partnership with Corner Alliance, HAAS Alert, Intellisense, N5 Sensors Inc., and the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation. The project was made possible through a contract awarded through S&T’s Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement program. Following the demonstration, S&T will release an after-action report later this year with useful information for emergency managers.

For more information about this program, please visit: A New Phase of Wildlife Urban Interface Emergency Alerting.

Originally published by the Department of Homeland Security. Click HERE for source. 

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