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Showing posts from March, 2008

Tsunami Warners Back Text Messaging for Hearing Impaired, but What’s the Backup?

Repeating the point of our February 29th post, text messaging has it place but is flawed as an emergency notification channel.  Now that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and State Civil Defense are pushing TM to alert the hearing impaired, we'll make the point again.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has a story today on Tsunami Awareness Month, and here's what it says about TM:
"A text messaging system also was created by Civil Defense to inform deaf people, government officials and emergency responders about a tsunami watch or warning.  The system involves sending text messages via e-mail, cellular phones and pagers.... so far, about 43 deaf people are in the system. Officials hope to increase that figure.  About $180,000 in funding was appropriated from the Department of Homeland Security for the pilot program...."
TM won't reach all hearing impaired, so once again we have reason to be wary when experts seem determined to see TM as "the answer" in emergency …