Sunday, May 19, 2019

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Share your stories and ideas with the network as you respond to crisis and disaster.

Effective as of this past weekend, you may now begin receiving geographically focused emergency text alert notifications. According to an article published by Government Technology:

“Individuals will not be charged to receive the messages, and alerting authorities will not pay wireless phone carriers for sending out the notification, according to FEMA. The alerts will be sent to mobile phones via broadcast technology to avoid the delay that typically happens during an emergency when wireless voice and data services are ‘highly congested.’

Three types of messages will be sent to mobile phones: imminent threats, Amber alerts and presidential messages, but according to FEMA, most alerts will be issued by the National Weather Service.

Imminent threats include tornado, tsunami, hurricane, flood and other types of severe weather warnings, all of which will come from the National Weather Service. For other imminent threats – hazardous materials incidents, for example – alerts may be issued by state and local officials, who must complete a four-step authorization process.”

The article goes on to explain that there are currently 20 federally approved agencies that are able to send out these alerts with another 16 agencies awaiting their approval. You can see the list of agencies here. The main potential concern, as is reported in this article, is that many people may receive these alerts without knowing they may be coming. Public education is the responsibility of the reporting agency and, thus, they will have to focus a lot of their efforts in educating the public on these alerts, how they are used and what it means for the recipient.

The alerts are limited to 90 characters and will most likely only contain basic information regarding the threat, when the alert will expire and a recommended course of action. According to the AT&T website, of the three alerts available, customers are able to opt out of the Amber Alerts and the Imminent Threats Alerts. They are not able, however, to opt out of the Presidential Alerts.

With this information now being made more readily available, and not optional (until people are aware of the service then they can opt out), it is imperative that Christians be Ready, now more than ever! Think about the people you know who carry cell phones, but do not engage in personal emergency preparedness. What will their reaction be, for example, when they receive a text message saying that there is imminent danger of tornadoes for the next 6 hours and it is recommended to shelter in place? Without the foundation of Readiness, they will not know the best way to respond or even where to begin.

We strongly encourage you to become a ReadyChristian. The training is free; you can share it with your neighbors, friends and family. The goal is for people to be ready to respond to any disaster or crisis they may find themselves in. 


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