Philadelphia emergency text messaging system [Telecom]

The Phila Inqr reported that the City of Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs have rolled out a new emergency text messaging system. The goal is to give more information on what people should do in case of emergency.

In the past, sirens were used, but people didn't know if they should stay inside (e.g. for a chemical plant leak) or evacuate (e.g. for a hurricane).

Further, text messaging uses limited bandwidth and will [supposedly] get through when cell phones aren't working.

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I suppose this is a good idea, but a great many people do not have cell phones with text messaging (many people who have cell phones have texting turned off or no idea how to use it). Also, cell phone towers can be overwhelmed in an emergency or be out of service altogether, despite their claims that text msgs get through.

It seems to me the old style radio/TV system was more reaching. In a severe emergency, every TV and radio station would broadcast a warning. They still do, sort of. It would be easy for cable systems to do that on all their distributed channels but they don't want to be bothered.

The article said the system could be used for lesser builletins. (I didn't go to their website). That could dilute the usefulness if they broadcast a warning for every summer thunderstorm or winter snowfall.

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