May 2021 — The Wireless RERC submitted reply comments to the FCC in response to their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry in The Matter of Amendment of Part II of the Commission’s Rules Regarding the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts [PS Docket No. 15-94; 15-91]. In our reply comments, we indicated support for expanding the Presidential alert class to allow activation by FEMA. By expanding the alert class, agencies responsible for detecting the threat have the authority to issue the alert. We also concurred with CTIA and NYCEM’s recommendations to relabel the alerts “Federal” instead of “Presidential” or “National” because of news response regarding public perceptions of this label. We also agree that the term presidential is unfortunately inflammatory and may elicit responses contrary to the intention of the emergency message specifically (e.g., protective action) and the system entirely (i.e., public trust) because a small qualitative study of Georgia Tech personnel in 2018 showed that mobile phone users mentioned a preference for receiving the WEA test without the title "Presidential Alert" and would like to have seen the notification titled along the lines of "National WEA Test." As asserted by CTIA, "the effectiveness of emergency alerting will be lost if people simply ignore or opt-out of receiving these critical messages." Finally, the WirelessRERC supported previous recommendations to alert the public about new alert labels based on our survey data on WEA response based on user knowledge.
Wireless RERC on the Record: Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS)
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