Feinstein, Harris Raise Concerns About Wireless Emergency Alert System Deficiencies During California Wildfires
Nov 02 2017
Washington – Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala D. Harris (both D-Calif.) today released the following statement in response to the FCC’s plans to move forward on updating the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. The FCC’s announcement follows a letter Harris and Feinstein sent to FCC Chairman Pai that raised concerns about the limitations of the WEA system:
“Californians should have certainty that when disaster strikes, they will be alerted as soon as possible. That means critically evaluating the geo-targeting limitations of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system.
“Two weeks ago, we wrote a letter to the FCC Chairman urging immediate action to improve the WEA system. That system is intended to provide Americans with lifesaving cellphone alerts, including in response to natural disasters like the recent wildfires in California and hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. However, public safety officials cannot take advantage of the system because of significant technical shortcomings.
“We are pleased to see the FCC Chairman commit to address this issue, but the Chairman has not answered our basic questions nor specified a timeline for action. We will closely monitor FCC proceedings to make sure these improvements are made to the WEA system. The next natural disaster could be around the corner, and when it comes, timely notifications could mean the difference between life and death.”