The long-awaited deadline for those subject to the Federal Communications Commission’s art 11 EAS Rules is here for Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Compliance. Latest word is that there are at least 1000 back orders for equipment at this time. Sorry. No sympathy from me for those who are not in compliance today. There was, pun intended, ample “warning” this was really going to happen. Others may argue any number of mitigating circumstances, but anyone who doubted June 30 would be a real deadline was, in my opinion, in denial.
While there will certainly be many bumps on the road to better public warnings using the CAP, the importance of having an international open non-proprietary standard for overall warning dissemination can not and should not be overlooked or underestimated. That said, it will all be for naught if we do not work to build strong partnerships at all levels to encourage warning originators to get certified to use CAP and to look on the public warning function using many warning systems as an integral part of emergency response — not just an afterthought.
And, while we mark this date, let’s recognize the acknowledged “father” of the Common Alerting Protocol (or maybe its midwife?), Art Botterell, who brought this key concept to life during the short but productive existence of the Partnership For Public Warning.