Euralarm’s PEARS project, which was demonstrated during the recent presentation of the EU project Alert4All, has shown the importance of safety and security systems and technology for a cross-border public alert system.
The Alert4All system uses a variety of communication channels to connect government agencies and institutions with their citizens, whether on the road, in the office or at home, providing standardised alerts. The unique solution for a future pan-European public warning system was developed as an FP7-project under the lead of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in co-operation with 11 European partners and Euralarm’s PEARS.
The success of cross-border public alert systems, such as Alert4All, depend on the system’s interoperability making it compatible with more than just the usual channels. Alert4All’s modular design will permit the integration of other, as yet undeveloped methodologies. When necessary it can be upgraded – for instance to incorporate the security systems in large facilities such as company buildings, schools or shopping centres. This was demonstrated successfully during the presentation of Alert4All and PEARS.
The integration of existing fire and security products, systems and alarm receiving centres into cross-border public alert systems represent a distinct opportunity to open an additional channel for public alert scenarios. Their role will be expanded to deliver additional capability in the event of crises in a very cost effective way.
The PEARS project has learned that fire and security products not only can but also should be integrated into public alert systems. The extensive installed base could be easily upgraded to receive alert signals which could be utilized to activate audible and/or visual warnings. More sophisticated systems can convert public alert messages into intelligible voice messages or display the same message on PCs. Integrating existing safety and security systems into a public alert scenario could be a cost effective and rapid alternative to reach large parts of the population.
In order to allow this integration into public alert systems, Euralarm will promote and initiate a broader discussion on European level. This discussion will focus on the adaption of the existing fire safety & security systems regulations to allow and encourage the integration of alarm systems into public alert communication networks.
Furthermore, Euralarm's knowledge about standardisation will be made available for defining the technical means to transmit alert communication to the fire safety and security systems. The first concepts for data models for emergency information exchange for societal security (ISO TR 22351) are good examples of such knowledge of transfer. Finally, Euralarm and its members will engage all stakeholders in a dialogue on the value of upgrading fire safety and security systems in the public interest.
Euralarm’s PEARS project was carried out from October 2012 until October 2013. The project was co-ordinated by Siemens Schweiz AG. Other partners were TYCO-Proximex as well as DEF-Group. The project demonstrates the broad technological basis of the European safety and security industry and its potential when co-operating with public alert systems.