Localities Continue to Press for May 2019 WEA Deadline

More localities are pressing the FCC to adopt a May 2019 deadline for requiring wireless carriers to implement enhanced geo-targeting for wireless emergency alerts (WEAs). A draft order circulated for consideration at the FCC’s Jan. 30 meeting would require implementation by November 2019 (TR Daily, Jan. 9). CTIA has asked for a 36-month implementation period.

Ex parte submissions filed yesterday in PS docket 15-91 expressed support for the May 2019 deadline. One filing was submitted by the District of Columbia, while the other was submitted by four jurisdictions in Oregon: the city of Portland and Multnomah, Clackamas, and Columbia counties.The filings by the District of Columbia and the Oregon jurisdictions were largely identical. Continue reading

Pai: FCC ‘On the Ground’ in Hawaii Probing False Alert

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said today that investigators from the FCC “are on the ground in Hawaii today gathering information” in the wake of a false ballistic missile notification that was transmitted last weekend via wireless emergency alert (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) (TR Daily, Jan. 16), while Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel also stressed the importance of preventing future false alerts and said changes should be adopted before summer. “This incident highlights the need for our alerting system to work properly and for alerts to convey accurate information to the public,” Mr. Pai emphasized this morning during remarks at a National Association of Broadcasters’ event on the role of broadcasters during emergencies. “The FCC has already begun an investigation.  We want to understand how this mistake occurred, why it took 38 minutes for the state of Hawaii to issue a correction alert, and what needs to be done to ensure that this does not happen again, in Hawaii or elsewhere.  Indeed, FCC investigators are on the ground in Hawaii today gathering information.” Continue reading

Have Your Voice Heard: Why You Should Participate in the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey

Message to Public Safety from OEC:  With great thanks to Chief Gerald Reardon, Eddie Reyes, Rosario Acevedo, Captain Chris Lombard, and Sherriff Paul Fitzgerald, a great team here at OEC, and the support of our friends at DHS Science and Technology, we are sharing a video to help you promote the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey. The theme is “Have Your Voice Heard.”.The video provides a great introduction to the survey and addresses the issue of “no one likes surveys” and explains why completing this survey is so very important for public safety. Please take a moment to view the video here and please share the link far and wide with fellow colleagues and stakeholders.  Full Web Address to Video: https://www.dhs.gov/safecom/sns

 

Pai Stresses Need for Disaster Preparedness, NG-911 Deployment

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today stressed the importance of developing best practices to aid in improved preparedness and response to disasters, and he also called on stakeholders to work toward deploying next-generation 911 (NG-911), which he noted can help ensure more resilient and redundant networks. He also cited last weekend’s false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii in saying that emergency communications systems “shouldn’t be designed so that a single point of failure leads to a catastrophic result.”

Mr. Pai delivered opening remarks this afternoon at a Capitol Hill event organized by the NG911 Institute. He said the FCC wants to work with the NG911 Institute on emergency preparedness and response best practices and NG-911 deployment.

“We need to learn from our experiences over the last several months and develop best practices so that we’re better prepared and more effective in responding to future disasters,” Mr. Pai said. “In December, our Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking input on the public and private sectors’ preparation for and response to the 2017 hurricane season [TR Daily, Dec. 7, 2017].  We want to know what worked and where we can improve service availability and restoration.  And we want to hear from all stakeholders, including the public safety community; state, local, territorial, and tribal officials; industry; consumer groups; and federal response partners.” Continue reading

Richmond Testing FirstNet System

The city of Richmond, Va., is testing the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system being built by AT&T, Inc. The city and Fairfax County are the first localities in the state — which was the first state in the country to opt into FirstNet — to use the network. Police officers in Richmond and Richmond Department of Emergency Communications executives are testing FirstNet during day-to-day operations, said Jackie Crotts, deputy director-technology for the department.

Courtesy TRDaily

 

Another House Committee to Focus on False Hawaii Alert

Another House committee announced today that it plans to hold a hearing to review the false ballistic missile alert that was sent in Hawaii this past weekend (TR Daily, Jan. 16). The House Homeland Security Committee’s emergency preparedness, response, and communications subcommittee plans to hold a Feb. 6 hearing on “Ensuring Effective and Reliable Alerts and Warnings.” The hearing is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in room 210 of the House Capitol Visitors Center. “Subcommittee members and witnesses will explore what went wrong before Hawaii’s false ballistic missile alarm and how to prevent similar occurrences in the future. The hearing will also examine proposed enhancements to Wireless Emergency Alerts, which have been useful after emergencies such as the terror attack in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood in 2016,” according to a news release. Continue reading

DHS Urged to Move Quickly, Cautiously on CDM

The Department of Homeland Security should move more quickly to deploy a network security system known as continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM), according to Rep. John Ratcliffe (R., Texas), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity and infrastructure protection subcommittee. “While I understand that setting up new government programs, buying new and advanced technologies, and deploying those technologies across a massive federal environment is not easy, the threats to federal agencies continue to grow every minute,” Rep. Ratcliffe said today at a subcommittee hearing on CDM.

“The maturity of the continuing diagnostics and mitigation program has to move at the pace of new technologies and innovations, not at the pace of bureaucracy,” he said.

A fully deployed CDM system would enable DHS to keep watch over civilian agencies’ networks and identify threats as they arise.  DHS has completed the first implementation phase and is working on buying the components and services needed for the next phase. “CDM is an ambitious program that I believe, if implemented well and over a reasonable timeline, provides the American people the kind of federal cybersecurity that they deserve,” Rep. Ratcliffe said. Continue reading