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Two Southern Miss professors work with Homeland Security to improve emergency messaging alerts

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Two Southern Miss professors have been working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security since 2012 in effort to improve warning messaging systems.

USM professor, Bandana Kar said, "There are sirens that go off during tornadoes and also text messages on our cell phones. Our project focuses on assessing how effective those technologies are, or do they all work in a similar manner when it comes to public reacting in a similar fashion."

Southern Miss is one out of ten universities nationwide to be working on this project with Homeland Security.

USM professor, David Cochran said, "We think that the results of our project and the other nine that were funded by DHS are going to bring improvements to everyone in the form of how we get information about emergencies that are occurring in our area."

Emergency alerts will continue to be sent out via text message to everyone.

But everyone does not have a smart phone.

"And of course that's in part why FEMA and our local county EMA's has a variety of different types of emergency management information streams, said Cochran."

When an emergency happens, Kar and Cochran hope that people who do receive the emergency alerts will advise others.

Emergency message alerts were limited to 90 characters, but now, the character length will be 360.



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