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EAS CAP deadline approaching, some things to keep in mind

There is something like two weeks left until the deadline for installing CAP compliant EAS equipment.  No, this time they really mean it!

Anyway…

I have installed a few of the new SAGE ENDEC boxes at various clients. They do have one common problem; audio input levels. The newer blue faced SAGE units are much more sensitive than the older units. The existing audio input levels connected to older EAS units need to be adjusted downward nearly 100% of the time.  SAGE Alerting Systems has a bulletin about it: SAGE Alerting Systems Audio Levels.

In addition to that, SAGE Alerting Systems has released CAP compliant firmware, available at: Updates for digital SAGE ENDEC

 

Common Alert Protocol (CAP)

Since the FCC started the CAP clock  ticking on September 30th, there has be a flurry of activity regarding the manufacture and installation of CAP equipment.  CAP is integrated into something called IPAWS, which stands for Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.  In other words, CAP is the vehicle that IPAWS uses to get information broadcast through radio, TV, Cable systems, etc.  IPAWS encompasses all alert types include cellphone, texting, e-mail, and land line phone calling.  Many states, including New York State, already do this.  FEMA spells out the reason for IPAWS:

The advent of new media has brought a dramatic shift in the way the public consumes information. IPAWS, as the next generation emergency alert and warning system, capitalizes on multiple electronic media outlets to ensure that the public receives life-saving information during a time of national emergency.

Historically, the public depended exclusively on radio and television to receive alerts, but current research shows that the reach of radio and TV is less than 40% of the populace during the work day. While less than 12% of the population is watching TV in the middle of the night, an even smaller number is tuned into the radio, at 5% of the populace. Television and radio will continue to be valuable sources of public information, but their reach is decreasing. Further, these information sources can only target a state or regional sized area and do not encompass alerting for people who do not speak English or those with disabilities, including the 29 million suffering from hearing impairment.

Today, the internet, including video and email, and cellular and residential phones are increasingly popular and therefore, valuable, sources of information. One study showed that the Internet has a 62% usage rate, averaging at 108 minutes a day. While television remains the most popular source for information, the Internet ranked either first or second at both work and home.

CAP figures into this by acting as a method to move data between IPAWS and EAS.  The basic CAP converter polls a CAP server, somewhere, for messages.  When a message for a geographic area is received, the CAP converter processes it and converts it to an EAS format, which is then sent via high level audio to the station’s EAS encoder decoder unit.  The EAS unit receives the information and then has the final say (or station personnel, if the EAS unit is in manual) as to whether the EAS message gets transmitted.

FEMA will be setting up a national CAP server in the next month or so, expect an announcement from them in November.  Each state can also set up a CAP server for state and local government use.  This will be implemented on a state by state basis.  Currently, there is no information on the New York State Emergency Management Office’s (NY SEMO) website, hopefully they are aware of all of this and will be updating there system shortly.

The CAP converters installed in individual stations will access the CAP servers via secure HTTP connections.  They will also be able to download software updates from the manufactures via the same method.

Axiom


A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An optimist sees the glass as half full. The engineer sees the glass as twice the size it needs to be.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
~1st amendment to the United States Constitution

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
~Benjamin Franklin

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
~Rudyard Kipling

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
~Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Article 19

...radio was discovered, and not invented, and that these frequencies and principles were always in existence long before man was aware of them. Therefore, no one owns them. They are there as free as sunlight, which is a higher frequency form of the same energy.
~Alan Weiner

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