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Newport Beach, California – Genasys Case Study

CASE STUDY | Emergency Warning & Public Safety Notification


Following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Northern California in June 2005, a tsunami warning advisory for the West Coast triggered confusion and gridlock as thousands of Newport Beach residents tried to evacuate the Balboa Peninsula. Shortly thereafter, the City of Newport Beach installed mechanical tsunami warning air raid sirens. In 2019, city officials found that the metal sirens had rusted and were non-functional. City staff determined it was more cost-effective to replace the air raid sirens with non-mechanical systems that included voice broadcast capabilities.


Most emergency warning installations sound sirens, but are incapable of broadcasting intelligible voice notifications containing critical information about the nature of the emergency and potentially life-saving instructions. Mobile phone alerts are dependent on cell towers that are prone to failure during power outages and wildfires.


The Newport Beach City Council selected Genasys following an August 2019 staff report that stated, “A key improvement over the existing system is voice command capabilities. During a disaster, public safety officials can sound the siren and then give voice commands over the speaker system instructing community members on exactly what to do.”

According to Katie Eing, Emergency Services Coordinator for the City of Newport Beach. “In addition to clear voice messaging, multiple siren tone options and a clean visual aesthetic, Genasys speaker arrays continue to operate when power and telecommunications go down.”


Genasys’ proprietary driver and waveguide technology focuses sound from 60° – 360° to provide customized mass notification area coverage. Optimized to the primary range of human hearing, Genasys speaker array broadcasts are clearly heard and understood inside vehicles and buildings, and above background noise. Genasys systems feature the highest Speech Transmission Index in the mass notification industry at 0.95, substantially exceeding all FEMA and UFC voice intelligibility requirements.


Genasys is the only critical communications platform that unifies hardware and software to provide geo-targeted alerts to mobile phones and audible warnings and notifications through acoustic speaker arrays with industry-leading vocal clarity and area coverage.

Self-contained or easily integrated with existing infrastructure, and featuring solar power, battery backup and satellite connectivity, Genasys systems are highly effective in delivering critical communications and life-saving notifications before, during and after wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other crisis situations.

“By enabling COVID-19 and other public safety notifications on multiple channels, including speaker arrays, IPAWS, WEA and social media, Genasys is a significant upgrade from the previous siren-only equipment.”

Katie Eing, City of Newport Beach Emergency Services Coordinator