When disasters strike, government officials must communicate rapidly with the public, including outreach to communities whose primary language is not English. America’s emergency alerting systems are essential tools for these times, helping authorities to warn and inform their communities in multiple languages.
The Emergency Alert System, which delivers alerts over television and radio, may be used to transmit audio and video scroll in the languages that best meet local community needs. Wireless Emergency Alerts, which are delivered to cell phones, can be sent in both English and Spanish. Both tools can effectively warn the public of imminent threats, such as severe weather, missing children, and shelter-in-place orders, as well share other public safety messages, such as boil water advisories and information on emergency shelters.
Top points for government emergency managers to know:
- Federal agencies and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments are eligible to send alerts through the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts. Learn more about how to become an authorized alerting authority by FEMA.
- If you are authorized to send alerts, learn how to do so in multiple languages. Here are tips on sending multilingual alerts.
- State Emergency Communications Committees are organizations that help to administer the Emergency Alert System on the state level. Consider becoming involved in your state committee so that you can make the best use of this tool in your community.
These critical alert messages should be accessible to all, and the FCC remains committed to working with stakeholders towards this goal.