April 8, 2021
By Lisa M. Fowlkes | Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

When disasters strike, government officials must communicate rapidly with the public, including outreach to communities whose primary language is not English. America’s emergency alerting systems are essential tools for these times, helping authorities to warn and inform their communities in multiple languages.

The Emergency Alert System, which delivers alerts over television and radio, may be used to transmit audio and video scroll in the languages that best meet local community needs. Wireless Emergency Alerts, which are delivered to cell phones, can be sent in both English and Spanish. Both tools can effectively warn the public of imminent threats, such as severe weather, missing children, and shelter-in-place orders, as well share other public safety messages, such as boil water advisories and information on emergency shelters.

Top points for government emergency managers to know:

These critical alert messages should be accessible to all, and the FCC remains committed to working with stakeholders towards this goal.