Warning and Alerting in Emergencies

Until now, emergency alert messages in the U.S. were only in English.  For people with limited English proficiency who are new to our country or just visiting, it is hard to know what the warnings mean or what to do.

These messages can warn us of tornadoes or floods, communicate amber alerts, or let us know whether to shelter in place or evacuate.  With help from ECHO, these warnings and alerts can now also be heard and seen in Spanish, Hmong, and Somali.

If approved by the FCC, multilingual messaging may become part of emergency communications systems. tpt/ECHO’s work is part of a state and federal plans called IPAWS or the Integrated Public Alerting and Warning System, designed to update technology and inclusiveness for diversely growing communities across the country.

More information about IPAWS:

- Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet; Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) (downloadable PDF)

- Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Alerts and Warnings

Learn more about the new and improved warning and alerts system for English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali, and how you can help your family and friends stay healthy and safe – in your own language. 

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