Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations are private or commercial radio broadcast stations that cooperatively participate with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after incidents and disasters. The FEMA PEP stations also serve as the primary source of initial broadcast for a Presidential Emergency Alert Notification (EAN). PEP stations are equipped with additional and back up communications equipment and power generators designed to enable them to continue broadcasting information to the public during and after an event. The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Program Management Office (PMO) is expanding the number of participating broadcast stations across the nation to directly cover over 90 percent of the U.S. population. PEP station expansion will help ensure that under all conditions the President of the United States can alert and warn the public.
PEP Modernization and Expansion
In September 2009, FEMA contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to equip selected radio stations to become FEMA Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations. The project with USACE is actively bringing new stations into the FEMA PEP program. High level tasks for activating a new PEP station include: initial site assessments, environmental assessments, design specifications, construction of special facilities, and coordinating memorandums of agreement with the stations and activity coordination with the state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions and the FEMA regional offices.
The Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations provide resilience for alerts and warnings to the public. The IPAWS Program Management Office (PMO) is modernizing existing PEP stations with next generation alert and warning equipment to include Common Alert Protocol (CAP) compliance equipment, and Internet Protocol enabled equipment.
Satellite communications infrastructure can be fully integrated with the legacy Emergency Alert System (EAS) and provides a reliable, redundant commercial system utilizing multiple uplinks and satellites for national level EAS distribution. The IPAWS PMO continues to complete the integration of satellite data transmission paths as a diverse path for EAS message delivery from FEMA to PEP stations. An XM Radio transmission path was completed in the first quarter of 2010, and direct satellite connectivity became available to the national PEP stations in the third quarter of 2010.
The IPAWS EAS Modernization and PEP Expansion project includes and maintains 77 operational PEP stations throughout the United States and its territories. Direct coverage of the nation’s population will expand from approximately 67 percent in 2009 to over 90 percent when all 77 PEP stations become operational in 2015.