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
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:
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.
- 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 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
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
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
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:
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.
- chemical tanks
- radiation detectors
- flood level sensors
- air quality sampling equipment
- intrusion detection devices
Contact EMCOM for more information.