National Emergency Alert Notification System

Design Specification and Compliance Proposal


Section 1.0 - Executive Overview

1.1 - General

This document is presented to depict the results of an extensive requirements analysis performed by Technical Legal Consulting, Inc. of Independence, Missouri relating to the needs for a nationally integrated Emergency Alert Notification System which meets the needs of both those agencies and organizations involved in Emergency/Disaster management, and the public.

The Requirements Analysis which forms the basis of this document was the result of exhaustive research into current systems and their shortcomings, personal interviews with key personnel, and focus groups.

1.2 - Purpose

The purpose of this document is twofold;
  1. To present a generalized design specification of an Alert Notification system based upon the requirements analysis that can act as the basis for a Request for Proposal for those agencies seeking to fulfill some or all of the objectives and requirements delineated herein.
  2. To present the accompanying "response" to such a proposal from Technical Legal Consulting, Inc. outlining the system that was developed using the requirements analysis as a basis, and which is made available through EMCOM, the custodial agent operating the system.
    1.3 - Scope

    The scope of this document includes a design specification depicting the full scope of system requirements as defined by the Requirements Analysis. Due to the variety of systems and methodologies currently in use for other aspects of Emergency Management by various agencies, no attempt was made to incorporate aspects other than those required for Alert Notification and Feedback Loops (Survey/Situation Reporting).

    1.4 - Goals and Objectives

    The primary goal of the system is to provide a single, integrated, time and cost effective mechanism for providing a national alerting system, national in scope, which, through use of all available current technologies provides for the widest possible dissemination of emergency messages to the public within targeted, geographically defined notification areas.

    Secondary goals include:
    • To provide a nationally integrated mechanism for intra and inter-agency notifications for use in maintaining coordination between the various agencies involved in specific incidents.
    • To incorporate feedback loop mechanisms which provide a means for disseminating survey vehicles and collect responses into a common database for display and analysis.
    • To provide such a system within a cost-structure such that even the smallest communities can enjoy equal participation in the full capabilities of the system.

    The primary objective will be to utilize currently existing technologies across all relevant media to form a single, integrated system offering which fulfills the stated goals.

    1.5 - System Requirements Overview

    Due to the current national and world situation, there exists the need for a technological means to provide a common, comprehensive, integrated Emergency Alert Notification System capable of alerting the public of current or prospective emergency or disaster situations. Additionally, the system must be capable of augmenting integrated coordination between the various agencies that may be involved in a common incident with secure intra and inter-agency alerting and notification mechanisms.

    The system must be capable of notifying the populations of small communities, towns, cities, counties, states or the nation through a single interface, yet utilizing as wide a variety of notification methodologies and techniques as possible to insure that notifications are received by as wide as possible percentage of the public in the targeted notification area.

    Additionally, the system must be capable of eliciting response from various persons and/or agencies in the form of survey or situation report mechanisms that are compiled and made available to the issuing agency for use in their own management applications for damage assessment, resource allocation, etc.

    Two other key elements which permutated the requirements analysis must be taken into account. First, ease of use. The system must be able to be operated without the need for extensive technical training, and in the interest of time in emergency situations, with as few 'steps' as possible to issue alerts and bulletins. Secondly, and not the least less significant, is the ability to provide a system that is within the fiscal means of as many emergency organizations as possible, with emphasis on rural counties and communities with extremely limited resources.

    Details as to the specific requirements to be fulfilled under each of these general areas are presented in Section 2.0 of this document.

    1.6 - Installation

    The system must be capable of being installed and operational in as short a timeframe as possible, including all required training. Installation requirements are set forth in Section 3.0 of this document.

    1.7 - Training

    The system should be designed in such a manner that it can be operated simply and without significant technical knowledge or extensive training, such that in the absence of a primary system operator, other Emergency Operations Center personnel with limited training or knowledge of the system can operate it effectively.

    1.8 - Text & Acceptance

    Section 5.0 provides an abridged exemplar of the Test and Acceptance procedures that must be performed to verify the system meets the operational requirements as set forth in this document.

    1.9 - Summary

    The System Design Specification included herein meets the full requirements of an Emergency Alert Notification System capable of providing the alerting mechanism required by the emergency/disaster management community in terms of technological capabilites, fiscal capabilities, and operational requirements, while fulfilling the ultimate goal of providing the widest possible message dissemination.

    Emergency agencies may use the contents of this document as a base for their own specifications and Requests for Proposal, adding or deleting requirements to suit the individual needs of their own organizations.