CMAS RMT Alerts and the Laws of Unintended Consequences.
Posted: 19 December 2012 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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So I get this god awful noice coming out of my cell phone today (Verizon Android)...

Its the loud annoying warning sound you hear on TV/Radio preceding a Test of the Emergency Broadcast System/Emergency Alert System.

I pull down my alert menu and there is a message “CMAS RMT Alert”  and its apparently a test message of CMAS which I had to check on WIKI

The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), also known as the Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN), is an alerting network designed to disseminate emergency alerts to mobile devices such as cell phones and pagers. The Federal Communications Commission proposed and adopted the network structure, operational procedures and technical requirements in 2007 and 2008 in response to the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act passed by Congress in 2006, which allocated $106 million to fund the program.[1] CMAS will allow federal agencies to accept and aggregate alerts from the President of the United States, the National Weather Service (NWS) and emergency operations centers, and send the alerts to participating wireless providers who will distribute the alerts to their customers with compatible devices via a new class of message similar to text messages.[2] The government plans to issue three types of alerts through this system: alerts issued by the President, alerts involving imminent threats to safety of life, and Amber Alerts.[2] The system is a collaborative effort between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA),[3] although there has been some controversy regarding the willingness of FEMA to participate

OK, I get it….

But I see that one of the proposed uses of the CMAS will be “alerts involving imminent threats to safety of life,”

OK that take care of the background now lets set the scene.

You find yourself in a large crowded public space, perhaps and office building with dozens of cubicles…  suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, a shiver runs down your spine as you here the sound of firecrackers going off down the hall, only you know all too well that they are probably not firecrackers they are more than likely gun shots. Then screams.  They are getting louder and apparently headed you way.

You look for an exit, don’t see one, you look for a hiding place there is a dark corner with a cubicle and boxes of files, you wiggle your way past the boxes and hide under the desk.  The shots get louder, The screams get closer, you hear foot steps come towards your location then go past,  just when you think you are safe, you hear this incredibly loud annoying sound and its coming from YOUR CELL PHONE (Bang, Bang You’re dead).

I’m sure its a good idea for tornadoes, Hurricanes, flash floods etc…

But someone please tell me this scenario I have just described is not possible…While this seems like a very attractive idea for anyone not in a Kill Zone, for those inside the Kill Zone….Not So Much.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Gray,
Quick and easy solution.  Leave the cell phone at home, or in your car.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go down this road but since you brought it up…

Quick and Easy Solutions:

1.  Leave Cell Phone at home.
2.  Turn Cell Phone off when in public, (thus defeating the purpose of the Alert System)
3.  Turn ringer to silent (unfortunately those of us who have been in meetings where everyone is instructed to turn their phone to silent, know this doesn’t happen)
4.  Don’t go out in public
5.  Don’t go anywhere in public without armed bodyguards.

OK I think that just about covers it, feel free to add more “quick and easy solutions” but keep in mind that does nothing to dispel by gut feeling that the situation I have described above is merely a phone call away from a neighborhood near you/me.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yes, gray…I have something to add.
Get rid of the cell phone.
I have met very few people in my life who required that they be available 24/7…Most of those who believe that they are, are, in fact , deluded.  Are you telling me that you are so important that you cannot go to the mall or grocery store or bathroom, without being immediately accessible?  If you are so worried, then throw the damned thing in the trash, and buy yourself a nice 9 millimeter handgun.  Then. at least , when you are stuck in the mall with a shooter, you have more than a telephone to save your life.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Oh my goodness, can it be an actual conversation has broken out in this forum?

Michael, I’m with ya 100% life was so much simpler before everyone became a walking billboard for Apple and Google.

I am not worried.  I am happy.  (Oh by the way did you know that a recent University survey, indicated the quality of life in the US is in decline, it seems that 6 out of 7 dwarfs surveyed are not Happy)

Two problems with your/our approach.  #1 They don’t let defenseless minors carry lethal weapons in school for self defense, (but they are allowed cell phones) therefore only psycho mass murderers bring guns to school and #2 The cat is out of the bag, Millions of people have already adopted the cell phone as a vital organ.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I despise that we now have a generation that must be “connected”.  People will leave employment, simply because their job requires leaving cell phones off.  In the early evolution of cell phones, the “overly important” would suggest they couldn’t play a round of golf or use the restroom at an airport without being available to take calls.  Today, we see teens through career professionals who will not leave their cell phone alone for even a few minutes.  People are killed on our highways, through negligent and inattentive driving while on cell phones.  A pedestrian in Manhattan walked into the side of a car on Bluemont, a couple weeks ago, because they were on a cell phone and not paying attention. 

I understand that cell phones can be quick and efficient in accessing emergency personnel from your auto.  They can be handy devices for checking to see if the family needs milk picked up on the way home.  Necessary?  Heck no!!

OTOH, we have the stories of 9-11 and other tragedies where people have called loved ones when they know the end is near.  To hear that “I love you” one last time may be worth one blessing of this type of communication.

As far as Graham’s scenario of a cell phone ringing or beeping or making any noise to give away someone’s position during a “seige” is a valid point.  Would someone fearful for their lives have the mental sharpness to shut off the cell phone?  I doubt it and it could lead to a negative outcome.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Have you checked with your phone provider or on your phone settings to see if you can turn the alarm off? Verizon lets you opt out of Imminent Danger and Amber Alerts, but not Presidential Alerts. Check your provider for info on Wireless Emergency Alerts (not CMAS) to see if you can get more info.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 08:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Verizon has a very informative Q/A page in which the following is posted:

Why did I receive a test Wireless Emergency Alert?

Participating carriers are required to support monthly test alerts of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) system. Only specific persons within the carrier’s network employees, or within specific emergency response agencies should receive these alerts. (this is obviously not correct as I am in neither group)

If you are receiving test alerts, we thank you for your patience. The manufacturer of your device will soon release a silent, over the air fix to prevent further receipt of test alerts.

Since this is apparently a new technology being rolled out this year, they are probably working out the kinks.

My particular phone is a Huawei Ascend - Android from Straight Talk (on Verizon) and although I should not be receiving these Alert Test on the Verizon network it is interesting to note that the cell phone manufacturers are working through this and will at some point update the individual phones to prevent further test messages being received by the phone.

I know the simple fix is to just turn the sound off on the phone and keep it off, but you know there will be those who won’t and while the chances of it becoming a fatal mistake are very slight,  there is still a chance it will.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yeah, I’ve been wondering if the people on the Verizon forums talking about these alerts who say they never hear a siren, only get a text, have their phones in silent mode.

It’ll be hilarious during tornado season to hear the phones of an entire store full of people go off at once.

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