[aprssig] Cell phone and Pager alerts

Brian Webster bwebster at wirelessmapping.com
Tue Jan 31 16:05:49 EST 2006

Well the cell phone alerts would be on the text message side of things as I
understand it. This is a store and forward system and even during Katrina
response work in Mississippi we were able to communicate via text messages.
Keep in mind this system would be used for many emergencies other than full
scale catastrophic disasters. Things like local hazmat and or boil water
orders, snow storms, tornado warnings would also be information that would
be sent out in this system. The idea is to increase the odds of getting the
messages out to as many people as possible to help protect them. Not
everyone is a bunch of geeks like us who can make things happen no matter
what. It's a numbers game, reach as many people as possible when you have
to. It's not perfect but I do give them credit for at least recognizing that
they need to try to use the new forms of communications that the mass
population is using. Sticking their heads in the sand does not work and
emergency managers are trying to make it happen. I'm not convinced that this
could be the best way but it's better than them thinking they can just
activate EAS and all is well.

Thank You,
Brian N2KGC

-----Original Message-----
From: Rich Mulvey [mailto:aprs at mulveyfamily.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 3:34 PM
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
Subject: Re: [aprssig] Cell phone and Pager alerts

Brian Webster wrote:

>What's not wrong with this. As I have heard it described it is just an
>extension of the EAS system and gives emergency managers another way to get
>the word out to as many people in an effected area as possible. I doubt it
>will be any security threat as it will be outputting information that has
>already been released to the mainstream media. It just provides timely
>release of information to people who might not be glued to a TV or radio
>that is listening to local channels. Now that we are in the days of XM
>and Direct TV, more and more people are not listening to anything local. I
>have my doubts as to how well it works as a phone dialing mechanism. I
>think you can get timely information out dialing one phone at a time.

   As someone who lives in an area where cell capacity can't keep up
with subscribers, I can just imagine how this works.

1)  An emergency occurs
2)  The system sends out alerts to thousands of cell phones, all at once.
3)  All of the cells become overloaded, and the calls drop.
4)  People start hearing about the emergency through other means -
radio, TV, the net - and start calling up their loved ones.  Well, they
try to.
5)  All of the people who really need to be contacted - doctors,
firefighters, emergency responders - can't be contacted, because most of
the calls are being dropped by the overloaded system.

- Rich

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