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House Committee Examines Emergency Alert Systems

May 17, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) participated in a key House technology panel today to examine emergency alert systems throughout the country and consider the possibilities of new methods of alerting the public to emergencies. Bilirakis pointed to the recent wildfires in Pasco County as an example of the need for strong integration of wireless emergency alert systems at the local level.  

Please see below for an excerpt from the hearing.  

Bilirakis: “Just last week, my district experienced wildfires. Throughout the ordeal, Pasco County government shared information on social media about road closures, smoke conditions, and also live streamed press conferences online. Our firefighters did an outstanding job as they always do. Could you describe the integration or coordination of wireless emergency alert system messages and the ever-changing information on the ground being shared by local governments?”

Dr. Farrokh Khatibi, Director of Engineering, Qualcomm Technology: “WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) is designed so we can potentially have local, state, and federal input. We received some statistics that there have been 850 alert originators so far and over 30,000 alerts sent. Local authorities definitely have access to provide timely information to consumers in scenarios you described.”  

Bilirakis serves on the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.