Senators Push Emergency Alerts Through Technology

Yesterday, Brian Schatz and John Thune, Senators from Hawaii and South Dakota opened the Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement Act back up again. Schatz’ website released statements from both him and Thune regarding the issues Emergency Alerts encounter. These issues include the lack of relevant alerts in parts of the country.

“When a missile alert went out across Hawai‘i last year, some people never got the message on their phones, while others missed it on their TVs and radios. Even though it was a false alarm, the missile alert exposed real flaws in the way people receive emergency alerts,” said Senator Schatz, lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. “Our bill fixes a number of important problems with the system responsible for delivering emergency alerts. In a real emergency, these alerts can save lives so we have to do everything we can to get it right.”

“South Dakotans understand how drastically the weather can change on a dime,” said Senator Thune, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. “For that reason, among many others, this legislation would make necessary improvements to help keep South Dakotans and communities around the country safe in times of emergency. I want to thank Sen. Schatz for his leadership on this issue and look forward to working with him to move this bill forward.”

The READI Act will have a number of resolutions when it comes to Emergency Alerts. This includes:
  • Alerts sent to streaming services, such as Netflix, Apple TV+, Apple Music, and more
  • Not allowing opting out of receiving certain alerts
  • A reporting system so the FCC can fix any issues
  • Urging SECC (State Emergency Communications Committees) to update their alert system plans
  • Having alerts be played multiple times, instead of the only one time requirement
  • FEMA working on enhancing training on the alert system

So all in all, you may be seeing improvements on any emergency alerts, not only on your phone, but radio, tv, streaming services, and more in the near future. The READI Act already has the full support of a wide variety of television and internet associations.

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