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Louisiana Emergency Alert + Warning Systems

It is the policy of the United States to have a public alert and warning system. It is important that the system be effective, reliable, integrated, flexible and comprehensive. The purpose of the system is to alert and warn the American people in situations of war, terrorist attack, natural disaster or other hazards to public safety and well-being, taking appropriate account of the functions, capabilities and needs of all levels of government as well as the private sector.

The alert and warning system ensures that under all conditions the President can communicate with the American people.

Emergency Public Information

Louisiana has several channels for communicating to the public in an emergency situation. Crucial State public information is released through GOHSEP with the help of other State agencies that may be involved in response actions. Depending on the scope of an emergency or the type of situation, these messages may be initiated by either the Parish or State emergency management organizations.

The State also has several tools to facilitate emergency communications. Together they make up the Louisiana Warnings + Alert Systems. Some of these systems include:

  • Alert FM
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Louisiana Emergency Alert System (EAS)
  • Integrated Public Alert + Warning System (IPAWS)
  • Louisiana Amber Alerts

Alert FM

Alert FM is an FM radio-based emergency notification system that helps Louisiana officials’ better keep citizens, schools, businesses and first responders informed of critical information during natural or man-made disasters. It is an aggregator of local and State emergency information with multiple contact methods for mass notification.

Emergency managers from all 64 Parishes and 42 colleges and universities across the State have the authority to utilize Alert FM to broadcast voice-based emergency information including Amber Alerts, evacuation notices and pertinent weather updates. 

Alert FM is capable of sending mass or targeted FM-based messages to ALERT FM receivers or cell phones equipped with a radio chip and software. The system also allows messages to be received via email, cell phone and other consumer devices.

COMMON ALERTING PROTOCOL

The ALERT FM app is available for both Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and Android devices. The Apple iOS version is currently available for FREE download from Apple App Store and the Android version is available for FREE in the Google Play Store.

NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a vital communications link in any severe weather safety plan. NWR broadcasts continuous weather information. When severe weather watches and warnings are issued, most NWRs are automatically alerted and turned on so that users are alerted about a potential severe weather situation quickly.

Some receivers can be programmed specifically by Parish so that users receive information specific to the Parish to which it is programmed.

A weather radio is especially helpful throughout the Southern States because much of the severe weather occurs at night when many people are sleeping.

When severe weather is expected overnight, NWRs can be set in the "stand-by" mode before going to bed. When a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch or Warning is issued, the weather radio automatically alerts and broadcasts the warning. 

Six (6) transmitters serve southeast Louisiana and southwest and coastal Mississippi.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS COVERAGE

Amber Alert

Louisiana’s statewide Amber Alert System is the result of a cooperative effort among the Louisiana State Police and local law enforcement agencies (Les) working in conjunction with the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters and the more than 250 radio and television stations throughout the State.

Using remote access equipment linked to the National Emergency Alert System (EAS) and an electronic mail network, maintained at Louisiana State Police Troop F in Monroe, all radio and television stations receive an alert to interrupt programming – via the EAS – and broadcast information about suspicious circumstances involving a child's disappearance.

The intent of the Louisiana Amber Alert System is to disseminate accurate information about the disappearance, together with a photograph and description of the child, to as many residents of the State as possible as quickly as possible. Citizens with information that may lead to the recovery of the abducted/missing child are asked to contact law enforcement agencies by calling 911.

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

Louisiana participates in the national  Emergency Alert System (EAS) public warning system. The system requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to enable communications capabilities for the President to address the American public during a national emergency.

The system is also used by local and State authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as Amber Alerts and weather information targeted to a specific area.

COMMON COMMUNICATION CAPABILITIES

The EAS system ensures Louisiana citizens, families and business are and safer, better prepared and forewarned of impending emergencies or disasters through:

  • Automatic Operation. The EAS digital system architecture allows broadcast stations, cable systems, participating satellite companies and other services to send and receive emergency information quickly and automatically even if those facilities are unattended.
  • Redundancy. The EAS requires monitoring of at least two (2) independent sources for emergency information. This insures that emergency information is received and delivered to viewers and listeners.
  • Less Intrusion. EAS system tests are shorter and less obtrusive to viewers and listeners. When people do hear or see the EAS messages, they likely to take them more seriously, and not confuse them with test messages.
  • Second Language Options. EAS digital messages can be automatically converted into any language used by the broadcast station or cable system.

The EAS uses digital technology to quickly distribute important local emergency information. These messages can be sent through a broadcast station and cable system even if those facilities are unattended. The EAS digital signal is the same signal that the National Weather Service (NWS) uses on NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). This allows NWR signals to be decoded by the EAS equipment at broadcast stations and cable systems. Broadcasters and cable operators can then retransmit NWS weather warning messages almost immediately to their audiences.

Specially equipped consumer products, such as televisions, radios, pagers and other devices, can also decode EAS messages. Users can program these products to "turn themselves on" to receive messages.

Integrated Public Alert + Warning System (IPAWS)

The Integrated Public Alert + Warning System (IPAWS) modernizes and integrates the Nation’s alert and warning infrastructure. It combines new and existing public alert and warning systems and technologies through the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). CAP is a digital format for exchanging emergency alerts, allowing a consistent alert message to be disseminated simultaneously over many different communications systems. Through CAP, IPAWS provides authorities a broader range of message options and multiple communications pathways.

IPAWS is the only way emergency managers enable authorized public safety officials to send 90-character, geographically targeted Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to cellular phones in a danger zone. Cellular participation may vary by area; however, most commercial mobile service providers have opted in to WEA.

State and local authorities use IPAWS to route alerts to local EAS stations. It compliments, but does not replace, the systems State and local authorities are currently using for EAS.

GET ALERTS + STAY ALIVE: IPAWS ARCHITECTURE

Learn More

To learn more about Alert FM visit http://www.alertfm.com/

To learn more about NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) visit http://www.srh.noaa.gov/nwr/new.html

To learn more about Amber Alert System visit http://www.lsp.org/amber.html

To learn more about Emergency Alert System (EAS) visit:

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) using its toll-free number. The FCC provides information on a wide variety of subjects, including the EAS.

The number is 1-888-CALL FCC [1-888-225-5322]
The toll-free TTY number is 1-888-TELL FCC [1-888-835-5322]

To learn more about IPAWS visit https://www.fema.gov/integrated-public-alert-warning-system

To learn more about Louisiana Emergency Alert + Warning Systems contact GOHSEP-Operations@la.gov