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A Modern Approach to Outdoor Warning Systems Must Feature High-Fidelity, Voice-Based Acoustic Devices 

by Richard Danforth, Genasys CEO

Every September is National Preparedness Month, but this year’s feels different. Recent natural disasters and extreme weather globally have called into question the technology that public agencies rely on to inform their communities about critical events and what the public must do to stay safe.

The increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather and natural disasters have put emergency managers and first responders under growing pressure to be ready for the imminent critical event. The work they do on a daily basis to keep people safe is nothing short of heroic, and they need modern technology to help them improve efficiency and saturate communication coverage.

Being prepared in our current situation requires more than the technology that was in place during World War II to warn residents of imminent air raids. I’m referring to sirens that can call the public’s attention to something important but don’t provide any contextualized information or specific instructions through clearly audible, Intelligible voice messages that are actionable.

Replace Warning Sirens with High-Fidelity, Voice-Based Acoustic Devices

Instead of activating general warning sirens, agencies that have invested in Genasys Protect Alert, the mass notification component of our flagship suite of Protective Communications software and systems, can broadcast highly audible and intelligible messages over long distances via our Genasys Acoustic Devices. These high-fidelity acoustic devices, featured in a recent report by CNBC’s Jane Wells, deliver clear, specific instructions when emergencies arise to move people out of harm’s way. Removing the guesswork from decision-making for the public helps mitigate the chaos, especially for tourists who are visiting and have not been part of emergency drills.

Moreover, Genasys Acoustic Devices are engineered to be reliable in that they are capable of always-on communication even when the infrastructure around them fails. They are solar-powered to ensure they still function when the electricity grid goes down. Satellite connectivity ensures they will still work when hardwired or cellular connection is lost. And remote control enables emergency managers to operate these acoustic devices even if they aren’t nearby.

It’s Time for Modern Protective Communications Solutions

At Genasys, we’ve been leading the industry with Protective Communications solutions that have been widely adopted in many western states in the U.S. and currently protect people in over 100 countries around the world. This post has so far focused on the unique outdoor alerting capabilities that our Genasys Acoustic Devices offer (including a brand new deployment in the City of Berkeley, CA), but it’s important to note that our acoustic devices are just a single aspect of Genasys Protect, our broader platform that provides real-time zone-based evacuation management and mass notification solutions.

Genasys Protect Alert provides the capabilities first responders and emergency managers need to collaborate in real-time on critical events and clearly communicate actionable information and instructions to the public through common channels, including text (SMS), email, website, mobile app, social media, phone, TV, radio, digital signage, and of course, outdoor acoustic devices.

Genasys Protect Evac complements Genasys Protect Alert with powerful evacuation and repopulation management capabilities. Our Evac solution integrates custom geographic zones created by our proprietary, industry-standard algorithm using key datasets, including topography, vegetation, and population density, combined with local knowledge and real-world experience. This allows first responders and emergency managers to conduct highly efficient evacuations, minimize traffic congestion, and alert the community to vital resources in their vicinity. This intuitive and flexible evacuation management solution allows emergency managers to split or combine zones as needed to enable specific notifications customized for each zone or subzone, if necessary. People receive the information they need to make evacuation decisions specific to their location. The Genasys Protect Platform extends the common operating picture from the incident command post and Emergency Operations Center to the public through the community website and mobile app with a simple, easy-to-use, map-based user interface.

Relying on Outdated Technology Is Not Effective Risk Management 

We know from countless after-action reports that communications are often at the center of ineffective emergency response. They cast a harsh light on legacy emergency communications systems and their inability to reach the community. Public agencies have a call of duty to serve their respective communities. As a technology provider in the public sector, it is our mission to equip first responders and public safety professionals with modern reliable solutions that are ready when it matters. The hazards public safety professionals face and the risk to our communities are too great to not embrace proven technology when we know it saves lives. 

Each week of National Preparedness Month, I’ll focus on a different aspect of Genasys Protect that highlights key aspects of preparedness and communication. At Genasys, we’re here to ensure you are ready when it matters.TM