The Best Emergency Alert Network

The link below is to a blog entry by Rick Wimberly concerning all of the alerting systems shown at the IAEM conference in Orlando this week.

The basic premise is that there is no “best” alerting system and that the best alerting system is system of systems for alerting purposes that each have different traits and capabilities. I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY. In fact, the activity where I currently work, FEMA’s Disaster Management Open Platform for Emergency Networks (DM-OPEN), is designed to allow communication between different alerting systems, such that they work together as a system of systems. At the IAEM conference, 10 different systems were using DM-OPEN to share the alerting function and it worked well because all were using the OASIS Common Alerting Protocol as a basis for exchange.

DM-OPEN also showed the ability of multiple systems to share OASIS Emergency Data Exchange Language Distribution Element (EDXL-DE) wrapped content. This content included NIEM IEPD Content (Amber Alerts) and OASIS Hospital Availability, but could also have included any defined data structure known to parties on at least two ends of the exchange. So, does this make DM-OPEN the best emergency information network? I might want to think so, but my thoughts are actually similar to Rick’s. I believe that no single network solution can legitimately call itself the best. Instead, it takes a constantly improving “network of networks” in combination to provide emergency managers with the best information available. In this arena, DM-OPEN does have a place. Because DM-OPEN connectivity is based on publicly available standards, it can connect network to network, as well as system to system as long as those systems are open to standards-based connectivity. So, DM-OPEN is not THE network or THE system. But if anyone else tells you theirs is THE solution, I would say they are blowing smoke, and that they need to learn to work with others.

Gary “Grandpa” Ham

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.