Showing posts with label FEMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FEMA. Show all posts

Nov 9, 2012

Ten Four, Roger That

The ten-codes or ten-signals are code words used as stand-ins for common phrases in radio communication, such as ten-four, meaning message received. Charles Hopper, a communications director with the Illinois State Police, developed them in 1937 to combat the problem of the first syllables or words of a transmission being cut off or misunderstood. Preceding every code with “ten” gave the sometimes slow equipment time to warm up and improved the likelihood that a listener would understand the important part of a message. The codes also allowed for brevity and standardization in radio message traffic.

The codes were expanded by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) in 1974 and were used by both law enforcement agencies and civilian CB radio users. Over time, differing meanings for the codes came about in different agencies and jurisdictions, undoing the codes’ usefulness as a concise and standardized system. The problem came to a head in 2005 during rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina. After several instances of inter-agency communication problems, the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) discouraged the use of ten-codes and today the federal government recommends they be replaced with plain, everyday language.

In the days of the telegraph, the Morse code letter R (dot-dash-dot) was sometimes used to indicate “received” or “message received/understood.” When radio voice communication began to replace telegraphs, Roger, the code word assigned to the letter R in the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet (the radio alphabet used by all branches of the United States military from 1941 to 1956), took on the same role.

Roger means “last transmission received/understood.” Wilco (Will Comply) is the code used if the speaker intends to convey “message received and will comply.” The phrase Roger Wilco, often heard in the movies, is redundant and not really used since Wilco alone covers all the bases and acknowledges receipt of message and states intent to comply.

Jun 19, 2012

New PLAN for Your Phone

The federal government wants to implement a centralized system of control over all communications, with last year’s announcement that all new cell phones will be required to comply with the PLAN program (Personal Localized Alerting Network), which will broadcast emergency alert messages directly to all Americans’ cell phones.

Although users can opt out of receiving the alerts from FEMA and the Amber Alert program, messages direct from the president will be mandatory.

The thought of cellphone users being forcibly targeted with text messages from Barack Obama during the election season has obviously stoked concerns that the emergency alert system could be exploited for political reasons.

The system went live in the New York and Washington Metro areas last December 2011, caused panic in New Jersey after Verizon customers received text messages warning them that a “civil emergency” was in progress and to take shelter. This prompted alarmed citizens to flood 911 lines with anxious calls.

Verizon Wireless later apologized to its customers for causing alarm, admitting that the confusion was caused by a “test” of the PLAN emergency alert system.

The emergency alerts are designed to be incorporated into the Intellistreets system which turns all street lights into surveillance hubs that can record conversations and broadcast messages.

For the first time ever the government will have a direct line to millions of Americans who use cell phones and be able to transmit whatever messages it decides. Between this and the GPS required on all cell phones, we no longer need worry about being alone.