FEMA and FCC have adopted design specifications to develop a gateway interface so that wireless carriers can provide customers with timely and accurate emergency alerts and warnings via cell phones and other mobile devices.
The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) is one of many projects along with the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to enable emergency managers and the President to send alerts and warnings to the public.
This is the beginning of the 28 month period as mandated by the FCC in 2008, to allow commercial mobile service providers develop, test, and deploy the system that will have to deliver mobile alerts to the public by 2012.
Wireless carriers who choose to participate in the CMAS will be able to relay authorized test-based alerts to their subscribers. To ensure that persons with disabilities who subscribe to wireless services receive these emergency alerts, the FCC has adopted rules that require that participating wireless carriers transmit messages with both vibration cadence and audio attention signals.
The adoption of CMAS was a collaborative effort between FEMA, Department of Homeland Security in their Science and Technology Directorate, the Alliance of Telecommunications Industry Solutions, and the Telecommunications Industry Association. The next phase of CMAS collaboration with industry will enable FEMA to build the Federal Alert Aggregator/Gateway.