Hawaii False Alert Illustrates Importance of Authentication Protocols and UI Clarity for Emergency Alert Systems

 In News

MILWAUKEEFeb. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — As details become clearer surrounding the January 13, 2018 false ballistic missile alert, Hawaii residents and emergency managers throughout the world are demanding accountability. American Signal Corporation (ASC) sees this unfortunate situation as a lesson on the importance of UI clarity and authentication in emergency alert systems.

Explanation of the distribution is employee negligence and miscommunication, with the live alert being pushed to more than 1 million people. The false alert remained unaddressed by emergency personnel for 38 minutes, creating widespread panic.

ASC has planned for similar situations, implementing key authentication protocols in the development of its CompuLert™ NEXGen command and control system. To prevent miscommunication and negligence, NEXGen enacts user restrictions based on privileges, to ensure only top administrators have access to high-security functions such as live alert distribution.

Actions are set with 2-step activation, requiring emergency managers to provide credentials before pushing messages to alerting devices. Actions can also be customized to include delays, so operators can abort and cancel alerts during a buffer time if a mistake is made.

NEXGen’s entire UI is also designed around clarity, featuring an intuitive button interface with text and icon support, to ensure operators always choose the correct action, preventing mistakes. The UI can also issue immediate abort commands, stopping any unsent messages and simultaneously canceling and clearing sent alerts.

“The ramifications of sending premature emergency alerts to a widespread population can be catastrophic,” said Richard Roe, Executive Vice President at American Signal Company. “The situation in Hawaii could’ve been much worse, but it could’ve also been avoided. NEXGen is designed specifically to prevent these situations and could have played a role in stopping it.”

False alarms endanger lives, threatening the effectiveness of real emergency alerts. Emergency managers need products that ensure the integrity of alerting protocols.

For more about American Signal Corporation and its 75-year history of life-saving solutions, please visit https://www.americansignal.com/.


American Signal Corporation (ASC) is a leading designer and manufacturer of mass notification solutions, combining advanced engineering, innovative software and state-of-the-art equipment with an extraordinary record of longevity and expertise in the field. We aim to save lives every day.


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