As emergency communications technologies adapt to an increasingly interconnected nation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $100,000 to Corner Alliance, Inc., to enhance emergency alerts from first responders to drivers on the road during emergencies.
S&T is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) Program to develop a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) integration model. That model enables the dissemination of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) from alerting authorities using IPAWS to integration partners, to achieve new capabilities such as displaying fire and emergency alert information on the “infotainment” screens in vehicles.
“Effective communication of emergency fire information and evacuation routes to people in an endangered area is a necessity for first responders striving to manage emergency operations and guide safe public response actions,” said Norman Speicher, DHS S&T program manager. “Connecting emergency management tools to situations in WUIs will help emergency management officials achieve better routes and procedures by utilizing cutting-edge technologies that help define, share, and manage the status, and communicate evacuation routes and safety zones in real-time.”
S&T awarded the contract through its Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement (LRBAA) program to Corner Alliance, Inc., a small-business consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., and for this project, partnered with HAAS Alert, Inc. (HAAS Alert) a Chicago-based small business specializing in automotive digital alerting and vehicle connected to safety solutions. HAAS Alert will combine its Safety Cloud intelligence safety platform with alerting authorities that interface with IPAWS to deliver preemptive alerts to in-vehicle systems and some of the largest mapping applications used by drivers today.
“The IPAWS Program strives to find new methods and paths to effectively communicate emergency information to people that enables emergency managers to reduce the loss of life, personal injury, and property damage of disasters,” said Antwane Johnson, FEMA IPAWS division director. “The WUI integration model will develop connected platforms capable of delivering lifesaving evacuation notifications and digital alerts from emergency officials to drivers on the road during emergencies.”
The development of this tool is a continuation of S&T’s partnership with FEMA, identifying critical needs to assist public safety agencies at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels more effectively disseminate emergency and life-saving information to the public. The recently released IPAWS Program Planning Toolkit was launched as part of this effort in November 2021.
The more recent WUI integration model effort will culminate in a proof-of-concept demonstration in August 2022 that brings together DHS S&T, FEMA IPAWS, private industry, and automotive and navigation platforms in a single-day event with defined scenarios demonstrating the viability, utility, and lifesaving potential of these new integration opportunities for emergency management and roadway safety.