Source: United States House of Representatives – Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
November 18, 2020
“The January 2018 false missile alert crisis we endured in Hawai‘i revealed deep vulnerabilities within our warning system infrastructure. Given our location as a state and the threats we are exposed to, our warning system must be current, functional, and able to communicate accurate information to people across all available platforms. The READI Act requires states to keep their Emergency Alert System Plans tested and up to date, and it requires the FCC to create best practices for state and local governments,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “It ensures more people are reached by removing the opt-out feature for emergency alerts on mobile phones and brings us into the 21st Century by meeting consumers in new digital spaces like online streaming services.”
The READI Act has bipartisan, bicameral support and was included in the Senate version of the 2021 national defense authorization bill earlier this year. There are efforts to include the bill in the final version of the annual defense bill, which is being considered by Congress this month.
Require State Emergency Communications Committees to periodically review and update their State Emergency Alert System (EAS) Plans, which are often out of date.
Direct Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide guidance to state, tribal, and local governments on issuing alerts (including the initiation, modification, and cancellation of alerts) and on training and certification of alerting officials, among other things.
Ensure that more people receive emergency alerts by eliminating the option to opt out of receiving certain federal alerts on mobile phones.
Require active alerts issued by the President or FEMA to be repeated. Currently alerts on TV or radio may only be played once.
Explore the feasibility of providing emergency alerts to the public through online audio and video streaming services.
In the aftermath of the missile threat false alert, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced several related measures including:
The Civil Defense Accountability Act of 2018 (H.R. 4949) that would improve accountability by ensuring transparent investigations and disclosure into the incident and establish best practices to strengthen state and national preparedness and disaster communications plans, among other measures.
The Authenticating Local Emergencies and Real Threats (ALERT) Act of 2018 (H.R. 4965) would improve the emergency alert system and give the federal government the primary responsibility of alerting the public of a missile threat.
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