Suggested Changes for Wireless Emergency Alerts

WEAA recent study conducted for the U.S Department of Homeland Security by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has suggested some fundamental changes to the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA).

Primarily, WEA messages need to be longer suggests the study. Currently WEA messages only offer 90 characters and do not allow a URL to be included. START recommends consideration of adding URLs to WEA messages to direct recipients to websites for additional information.

WEA messages could potentially be more effective if the information is given in a different order. Currently, WEA messages must provide information in the following order: hazard, location, time, guidance and source. START suggests an alternative order: source, guidance, hazard, location and time, to improve likelihood of action taken in response to the message.

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Landlines Preferred by American Workers

According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, landline phones rate higher in importance than mobile phones to American workers.

Pew Research Center survey35% of American workers describe landline phones as “very important” compared to 24% for cell phones and smartphones. By comparison, 61% of workers rated email as “very important” to their job.

Different demographic groups within the survey rated cell and smartphones higher, such as working adults from households with incomes of $50,000 or greater who were more likely than those in lower income households to rate mobile phones as “very important” (28% v. 15%). As another example, men are almost twice as likely as women to say cell and smartphones are “very important” for doing their job (30% v. 17%).

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Hashtag Standards

Twitter birdThe United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently released a handbook outlining best practices for using hashtags. For those not familiar with the term “hashtag,” it is a word or phrase in a Twitter post marked with the “#” symbol to denote messages of a particular topic.

Hashtag Standards for Emergencies encourages the standardization of social media hashtags during crisis situations to help integrate big-crisis data into emergency response.

The report concludes that Twitter has “the potential to supplement traditional information gathering and response reporting during large-scale emergencies.”

Download the document here:


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