DHS Tests Next-Generation WUI Alerting Technology


WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) concluded a proof-of-concept demonstration of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) integration model in Fairfax County, VA. The model integrates next generation technologies with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) enabling alerting authorities to disseminate Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) with new capabilities such as displaying hazard and evacuation alert information on the “infotainment” screens in vehicles. Simulating real-world events, the demonstration was conducted at the Fairfax Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and in a field location in Fairfax County, in collaboration with the FEMA IPAWS Program, Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management and HAAS Alert, Inc.

Integrating IPAWS with new technologies, such as GPS navigation applications and cutting-edge technologies, could enable critical information, such as evacuation routes and safety zones, to be communicated to the public in near real-time in their vehicles’ entertainment and navigation systems.

“The IPAWS Program strives to find new methods and paths to effectively communicate emergency information to people that enables emergency managers to reduce the loss of life, personal injury, and property damage of disasters,” said Antwane Johnson, FEMA IPAWS Division Director. “The WUI integration model will develop connected platforms capable of delivering lifesaving evacuation notifications and digital alerts from emergency officials to drivers on the road during emergencies.”

“Effective communication of emergency fire information and evacuation routes to people in an endangered area is a necessity for first responders striving to manage emergency operations and guide safe public response actions,” said Norman Speicher, DHS S&T Program Manager. “Connecting emergency management tools to situations in WUIs will help emergency management officials achieve better routes and procedures by utilizing cutting-edge technologies that help define, share, and manage the status, and communicate evacuation routes and safety zones in real-time.”

This project was made possible through a contract awarded through S&T’s Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement program to Corner Alliance, Inc., a small-business consulting firm based in Washington, DC Corner Alliance partnered with HAAS Alert, a Chicago-based small business specializing in automotive digital alerting and vehicle connected safety solutions. HAAS Alert will integrate its Safety Cloud® platform with the FEMA IPAWS Open Platform for Emergency Networks (OPEN) system to receive emergency notifications from alerting authorities that deliver preemptive alerts to in-vehicle systems and some of the largest mapping applications used by drivers today.

The WUI integration model demonstrated how connected platforms can deliver lifesaving evacuation notifications to drivers on the road during emergencies, ultimately saving lives and property nationwide.

About DHS S&T The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) mission is to enable effective, efficient, and secure operations across all homeland security missions by applying scientific, engineering, analytical, and innovative approaches to deliver timely solutions and support departmental acquisitions . Created by Congress in 2003, S&T conducts basic and applied research, development, demonstration, testing, and evaluation activities relevant to support Homeland Security and first responder operations and protect critical infrastructure. For more information about S&T, visit scitech.dhs.gov.

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