IPAWS Newsletter Fall 2021

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Fall 2021

IPAWS Newsletter
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The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) is FEMA's national system for local alerting that provides critical safety information through mobile phones using Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), to radio and TV via the Emergency Alert System (EAS), NOAA Weather Radio via Non-Weather Emergency Messages (NWEM), and on digital media via the IPAWS All-Hazards Information Feed.

In This Issue

IPAWS in the News Technical Support Services Native American Heritage
Congressional Testimony Upcoming Events New Alerting Authorities
Users Conference    

IPAWS in the News

South Carolina EMD Works to Ensure Residents Have More than One Way of Receiving Emergency Alerts - Post & Courier, Charleston, SC

In the last five years the Palmetto State has been impacted by nine named storms, with hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Dorian among the most notable.

And through the national Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, authorized municipalities and state and federal agencies were able to keep residents aware of extreme weather threats and evacuations nearby.

Adams County Uses New Emergency Alert System During Juniata Shooting
KSNB-TV Hastings, NE

Neighbors wouldn’t have known to shelter-in-place during the Juniata Shooting on Tuesday if it wasn’t for the new Adams County emergency alert system. They installed it less than a month ago but the shooting was the first time putting it into action.

City officials said they needed an immediate result for the shooting and this new alert came just in time to notify and keep everybody calm.

Major California Earthquake Would Knock Out Cell Service, Communications, Study Finds  Los Angeles Times

A major earthquake in California is likely to knock out many communications services for days or weeks, including the vast majority of cellphones in the areas closest to the epicenter, according to a landmark new analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The widespread disruption would imperil the public’s access to 911 operators and lead to delays in reporting fires and calls for medical help.

FEMA Celebrates PEP Upgrade at Historic WBZ  Radio World

The Federal Emergency Management Agency formally announced the modernization of PEP facilities at WBZ Boston with a brief ceremony...

Primary Entry Point stations are the first link in a distribution chain that provides emergency information to all of the roughly 20,000 broadcast stations in the United States. A total of 77 PEP stations form the core of the Emergency Alert System.

IPAWS Antwane Johnson

Congressional Testimony on IPAWS

Antwane Johnson, IPAWS Director, testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness and Recovery on November 2, 2021.

Mr. Johnson presented recent IPAWS developments and usage cases, and answered detailed questions about the system and FEMA's support for Alerting Authorities. Video of the hearing is online at this link.

IPAWS Technical Support Services Facility (TSSF)

The IPAWS Program Management Office encourages and supports practicing and exercising IPAWS usage through the IPAWS Technical Support Services Facility (TSSF). Staffed by IPAWS subject-matter experts experienced in emergency management, public safety communications, public works and broadcasting, the facility is an excellent resource available to IPAWS alerting authorities.

Located close to Washington, D.C, at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD, the TSSF is a 24/7/365 facility equipped to provide technical support with IPAWS activations, alert troubleshooting, WEA tests, monthly proficiency demonstrations, and other IPAWS-related requests. The facility includes state-of-the-art interactive conference and seminar spaces to support Alerting Authorities training on-site as well as support virtual events.


Monthly Proficiency Demonstration

IPAWS alerting authorities are required to send a monthly demonstration message to the TSSF environment. This better prepares IPAWS users for issuance of live alerts during real-world incidents.

Sending of a live public alert does not satisfy the requirement for a monthly proficiency demonstration. Why? Because the IPAWS PMO monitors monthly activity in the facility for accountability and not in the IPAWS live environment.

TSSF staff can offer sample scenario-based situations to make the monthly proficiency demonstration a little more interesting and fun. Please reach out for more information.
The IPAWS Technical Support Services Team can be reached at 1-84-IPAWS-LAB (1-844-729-7522) or email at fema-ipaws-lab@fema.dhs.gov.

IPAWS Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

President Biden declared November as National Native American Heritage Month to celebrate and recognize the culture and heritage of these remarkable Americans who deeply enrich the quality and character of our Nation. Each day, IPAWS works to honor the nation's responsibilities and commitments to American Indians and Alaska Natives, as members of the original indigenous peoples of North America.

IPAWS recognizes the sovereign right, authority, and unique status of Tribal Governments and values the nation-to-nation agreement. Tribes apply to IPAWS directly to use the system, giving them the capability to send geo-targeted alerts to the public in their jurisdictions during and after emergencies, to save lives and protect property.

Recently, there is much interest in understanding the capability of IPAWS in Indian Country to send geo-targeted alerts. As sovereign nations, all tribes that request CAE – Child Abduction Emergency (AMBER Alert) permission for Emergency Alert System (EAS) and/or Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) through FEMA IPAWS are eligible. All Tribes that have requested it, have received it.

To date, eight Tribal Nations have access to IPAWS to send public alerts, with others pending a signed and approved Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Tribes with IPAWS access:

Cocopah Indian Tribe Navajo Nation
Hualapai Tribe Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians
Eastern Band of Luiseno Indians Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis  
The Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes

Our goal is to increase the adoption of IPAWS into tribal emergency management programs, to ensure tribal access to alert and warn the public during emergencies when seconds count!

Upcoming Events

Keystone Emergency Management Association's KEMACon is a virtual event with a mix of educational workshops and presentations to showcase concepts, technology, processes and evidence-based practices in emergency management. Presentations, including one from IPAWS Deputy Director Wade Witmer, are available now through March 2022.

Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, NV: January 5-8, 2022. The IPAWS team will attend to promote adoption of the IPAWS All-Hazards Information Feed. The future of alert and warning is ubiquitous alerting, and with more than 4,000 exhibiting companies, there will be a number of options to interface with IPAWS.

Idaho Emergency Management Association Conference, Boise, ID: January 31-February 2, 2022. IPAWS will present and exhibit at IEMA to engage with local county representatives, provide updates and training to current Alerting Authorities, and encourage more counties to get connected to IPAWS.

National Disasters Expo, Miami, FL: February 7-8, 2022. IPAWS Director Antwane Johnson will speak about new tools to enhance public safety, along with Norman Speicher from the Department of Homeland Security. The Expo will feature four co-located events, each to address preparing for, responding to and recovering from the most costly U.S. natural disasters: Storm Expo, Flood Expo, Earthquake Expo, and Heat & Fire Expo.

Users Conference Presentations Available

The IPAWS Users Conference in September covered the IPAWS TSSF, best practices for alerting, Memorandum of Agreement procedures, a recap of the National Test, introductions to the IPAWS office branches, and forthcoming tools for use by Alerting Authorities. Videos of the sessions will be available soon, but presentations from the event are now available.


Welcoming New IPAWS Alerting Authorities

These agencies and jurisdictions recently completed Memoranda of Agreement with IPAWS.

The process for signing up is outlined on the IPAWS website at this link.

AK Unalaska DPS CA City of Westlake Village
CA East Valley Water District CA Sacramento County OES
CO Sedgwick County Communications CO Town of Telluride
ID Shoshone County Sheriff IL City of Wheaton
IL Macon County Emergency Telephone IN Evansville Vanderburgh County EMA
KY Jessamine County EMA CSEPP KY Lee County Fiscal Court
MA Town of Randolph MA Town of Somerset FD
MD Caroline County ES MI Alpena County Central Dispatch
MI Arenac County EM MI Bay County
MI Ogemaw County EM MI Oscoda County EM
NC Moore County PS NC Northampton County EM
ND MHA Nation NE Region 22 EMA
NE Sarpy County EMA OH Champaign County EMA
OK Bryan County Government OK Canadian County EM
OR Coos County EM OR Lake County Sheriff's Office
TN Jefferson County 911 District TX City of Cibolo
TX City of Muleshoe TX Kerr County
WA Grays Harbor County Sheriff WI Douglas County


You can contact the IPAWS Program Management Office (PMO) at fema-ipaws-stakeholder-engagement@fema.dhs.gov.

IPAWS 24/7 Technical Support Services: 1-84-IPAWSLAB / 1-844-729-7522

Disclaimer: This communication is provided by FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System’s Program Management Office to highlight program announcements and does not endorse any non-government organizations, entities, or services.