SensAlert Module

OBJECTIVE - To provide integrated communications, coordination, notifications and situation reporting between all required federal, state and local agencies in respect to remote monitoring of/for hazardous materials.

The SensAlert module of the EMCOM system provides comprehensive and integrated linking of facilities, personnel and resources for the monitoring of fixed remote tanks, pipelines, air/water quality, or for monitoring/tracking mobile assets. It provides the linking structure through the complete cycle from the sensor and telemetry devices through the public notification (as required) of the hazard.

A generic yet typical implementation of the system would include the following capabilities.

A remote sensor and associated telemetry equipment (i.e. landline, ethernet, radio, micro-burst, satellite, etc.) provide a sensor 'activation' signal to the EMCOM system. The system validates the validity/integrity of the activation signal, and if verified, provides an immediate notification normally via Rapid Notify pager system) such that the responsible Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the kind and type of sensor activated is notified within 90 seconds of the activation. The system will present the SME with an annotated map of the sensor area from its integrated, interactive GIS mapping/annotation system, and pertinent information relating to the type of sensor, materials involved, etc. The system will also present critical meteorological information for the area from the closest available observation point. The SME analyzes, cross-checks and validates the sensor alert to insure that it is a true reading which requires an emergency response, rather than a normal event for which no response is required.

If a hazardous situation exists the SME can utilize their own knowledge and resources, meteorological data, etc. to determine the size and type of hazard zone required, and can quickly annotate it on the map presented on their computer screen with the use of their mouse. In some cases, this may involve multiple hazard areas contained within each other:
  • A primary inner area where the public should shelter in place
  • A secondary larger area where evacuations should occur
  • A third outer area where persons should be notified to stand by to evacuate should conditions require it.
The SME can then click to activate an alert message indicating the hazard to each local, state and federal agency required to be notified of such situations. These are pre-stored by sensor in the EMCOM database. Within 90 seconds, each of the agencies has been notified, and can display the annotated map and SME comments/recommendations on their own display screens.

The local emergency manager responsible for coordinating the response and local notifications can evaluate the situation, and if required, simply click in each notification area depicted on the map, enter the text of an alert message to be sent, and the system will begin notification via all of the means available to the EMCOM system, both text and voice, to notify the persons within the defined area to take the appropriate defined actions. Additionally, EMCOM Community Emergency Preparedness Coordinators are notified to insure that families in their neighborhoods have been alerted, especially those without computers, cell phones, PDA's, or even telephones, and can assist those persons which map require special help during emergency situations.

For nuclear, biological or chemical hazards, the hazard zone (usually an ellipse) is almost always dependent upon wind speed and direction. The system can be set to provide continual monitoring of these attributes, and report when they have exceeded a defined variance. When this occurs, the system can automatically adjust the size/direction of the hazard zone(s), and immediately make the alert notifications to the public in the newly defined portions of the area.

The map defining the alert areas, as well as the alert bulletins describing the actions to take can be automatically and immediately posted to the locality's Emergency Information website.

The Emergency Manager can then use a mouse to draw evacuation routes onto the map for use by the public. These (and any other annotations designated as "public") will automatically appear on the map on the Emergency Information web site, as well as on the status displays of all other federal, state and local participating agencies.

Additionally, these same maps are available via internet capable wireless devices such as cell phones, PDA's, etc., for use by the public to guide them during an evacuation, or, to show them areas to avoid if in the general vicinity of the hazard area. As changes or updates are made to the maps, they are reflected on the screens of remote users within seconds.

While this is a generic example, the system's interface to various kinds and types of sensors as well as types of situations can be customized to suit each. SensAlert

SensAlert allows the system to automatically generate pre-defined alert notifications to public/private emergency centers, hazmat teams and/or the public based on the activation of virtually any type of remote sensors or monitoring equipment including:
  • chemical tanks
  • pipelines
  • radiation detectors
  • flood level sensors
  • air quality sampling equipment
  • intrusion detection devices
As with all alert notifications, messages can be generated based on entity, type and/or group of entities, geographic area or any viable combination of the above.

Contact EMCOM for more information.

Nat'l Alert/Preparedness | About EMCOM | Policies & Statements | Site Map | Contact Us
Copyright © 1998-2004
All Rights Reserved