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Emergency Management Highlight: Staying Informed Ahead of Disasters

With evolving technology and the availability of smartphones and other electronic devices, how individuals receive information has changed significantly. With the amount of information available, it can be difficult to know which news sources are reliable and valid. When the need arises, having the ability to receive one-way broadcast messages through emergency communications systems is critical. Many communities currently have automated systems that provide information to impacted individuals through phone calls or text messages.

Here are examples of reliable and valid notification systems available to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. You may already be using one of these systems, or you may want to consider opting in to another one to ensure you receive emergency notifications.

Emergency Alert System (EAS) alerts are one-way messages sent through television and radio that do not require the need to opt in. The system is designed to enable the President of the United States to inform the public, and it allows national, state and local authorities to alert individuals about events such as local weather emergencies.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are one-way messages sent through mobile devices that do not require the need to opt in. WEA alerts are sent by authorized government authorities through your mobile carrier. Alerts include extreme weather, AMBER alerts (child abductions) and presidential alerts during national emergencies. These broadcasts are sent from area cell towers to mobile devices.

Community Emergency Notification System (CENS) alerts are one-way prerecorded messages sent through the 911 database where some landlines are automatically registered. This system provides the greater Phoenix area with redundant messaging for incidents such as major fires, flash floods, hazardous materials spills, endangered children, and public safety threats or incidents. To receive alerts on mobile devices, users can opt in at https://maricoparegion911.onthealert.com/.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) App provides weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also provides locations of open shelters, customizable emergency checklists and tips on how to survive natural disasters. The app is free through the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Using these notification systems adds redundancy to receiving messages and can help individuals to make informed decisions as they respond to disasters. For more information on staying connected, contact SRPMIC Emergency Management at (480) 362-7929 or Terry.Nelson@srpmic-nsn.gov.