Statewide emergency radio system coming soon

For the past two years, the Florida Division of Emergency Management has been working to implement a statewide infrastructure to support an FM-based emergency notification system and local reporters at Historic City News have learned that it is one step closer to reality.

The new system provides a turn-key platform for disaster warning and communication to citizens, government officials, and emergency management teams using an FM radio infrastructure.

This state-funded program has been tested in select areas and is now expanding to all counties, including St. Johns.

The unlimited, time-sensitive notices quickly advise about disasters and provide community outreach notifications through specialized receivers, email, and cell phones.

More than a weather radio, HEARO Local Alert Receiver is a specially designed FM receiver that gets messages from a local ENVOY network. When power, Internet and telephones go out, HEARO keeps working for days. HEARO sends messages in English, Spanish, French, and German. HEARO connects users to the police, fire, emergency management, and government officials. As soon as an alert is issued, users are notified and know how to respond – evacuate, take cover, boil water, and more.

HEARO also carries local NOAA weather alerts while utilizing a state-of-the-art technology known as Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). HEARO is the globally recognized leader in publically available implementation of a CAP-based emergency alert system.

HEARO receivers have the capability to support external devices such as strobe lights and “bed shaker” vibrations in addition to addressing ADA guidelines and parts 1193 & 1194 of the Telecommunications Act:

• Large text display with two backlight colors
• Whole-word scrolling with minimum text blinking
• Discernible, raised buttons
• Audible and visual alerting
• Variable audio level up to 90+ decibels
• Custom alerting actions and volume per receiver

State appropriations cover all the costs of the system, which includes 10 receivers in St. Johns County, equipment for radio stations in the area, and the recurring maintenance and operations cost for the first full year of operation.

The HEARO Standard receiver sells for about $99.00 and is available directly from the service provider. HEARO Wall Mount sells for about $106.00 as does the HEARO Advanced model.

St. Johns County Administrator Michael Wanchick told Historic City News reporters, “We expect the system to be fully active in June of this year.”

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