IPAWS Monthly Proficiency Demonstration Scenarios



IPAWS Alerting Authorities are required to perform Monthly Proficiency Demonstrations (MPDs) using the IPAWS Technical Support Services environment to maintain IPAWS access. This requirement can become routine and boring. Therefore, IPAWS introduces Scenario-Based MPDs that are pre-developed short scenarios to make your proficiency demonstration experience more interesting and useful.

About Required Demonstrations

Monthly Proficiency Demonstration (MPD)

If you are an IPAWS Alerting Authority (AA), you are required to send a monthly practice message to the IPAWS Technical Support Services Facility (TSSF) environment. The purpose is to increase AA proficiency and confidence when issuing an Alert and Warning Notification, and most importantly to lessen the risk of errant messages. The following rules apply:

  • Miss 1 month = friendly reminder
  • Miss 2 months = notification to your state IPAWS authority
  • Miss 3 months = risk of having IPAWS connectivity disabled

The IPAWS Customer Support Branch monitors TSS activity for MPD compliance. The IPAWS Office does not want to disable anyone’s connectivity to IPAWS. So, to encourage participation, we sought mechanisms to make the MPDs more beneficial and interesting to you.

Scenario-Based Monthly Proficiency Demonstration

A Scenario-Based MPD leverages an adjustable template composed by TSSF staff. The scenarios cover a variety of hazards and incidents. They are created to be flexible, scalable and adaptable, which allows you to modify the scenarios to fit the needs of your jurisdiction(s). Scenario-Based MPDs include a situation followed by 4-5 applicable questions and are similar to mini-table top exercises (10-15 minutes). The purpose is to facilitate collaboration among participants and trigger critical thinking/decision-making, reducing the feeling of routine. Benefits include:

  • Evaluation of decision-making processes regarding public notification;
  • Assessment of internal policies and procedures; identify gaps;
  • Determination of IPAWS effectiveness; and
  • Development of templates for incidents.

“We are going to use the scenario for our exercise next month. We appreciate that the exercise was catered to us.” – City of San Fernando Police Department

“This definitely helped us with our message creation.” – City of San Fernando Police Department

Illustration of a question mark in a chat bubble

Have Questions?

IPAWS TSSF staff are available to assist you with performing a Scenario-Based MPD. Support is typically provided virtual, via webinar, but we welcome visitors to the TSSF anytime. You can reach the TSSF at 1-84-IPAWSLAB or 1-844-729-7522.


Additional resources, such as the Event Code Glossary and the Alert Standardization Checklist, can be found in the IPAWS Library.


It is February 23, 20XX, your jurisdiction has received 104 inches of snow so far this winter. Every downhill and cross-country trail in the ski areas are open. A sudden shift in the wind yesterday has brought warmer southern air to your area. Around 10 am, a few small “wet-snow” avalanches have occurred on two south-facing mountains. They created no danger. As a precaution, several resorts reduced the number of “open” trails. Suddenly a “slab” avalanche is initiated near the summit of one mountain, It cascades down the slope. It buries a refreshment chalet, several nearby residences, the access road, and stops after severely damaging the northside of the main lodge. 75% of the parking area is under 8 to 10 feet of snow. 40 + people are stranded at the Summit Lodge. All power is lost to the resorts in this area.


  1. What information do you want to release to the public?
  2. Would you geotarget this messaging?
  3. What event code(s) would you use based off your permissions?
  4. What WEA handling should you use?
  5. Social Media is streaming inaccurate information., how would you counter this?

Extreme Heat

An Extreme Heat advisory has been issued for your jurisdiction. Extreme Heat advisories typically last 2-3 days. Your jurisdiction protocols require you to issue an alert that outlines the safety precautions to prevent heat illness to your citizens.


  1. What information do you want to deliver to the public?
  2. What additional information do you think would be helpful to relay?
  3. What event code(s) would you use based off your permissions?
  4. What WEA handling should you use?
  5. How long do you think your alert should remain active?


It is late summer and for the past three days, it has been raining heavily, averaging 2.6 inches of rain each 24-hour period. The areas near _________ have a history of flooding. Residents are starting to ask questions about the rising river and lake levels. Many asking if they should leave their homes.


  1. How do you deliver AWN to the public?
  2. Who makes the decision to send the alert (IPAWS)?
  3. What event code would you use based off your permissions?
  4. How long do you think your alert should remain active?
  5. Is message delivery confirmed?
  6. What steps do you take to confirm that non-English speakers or individuals with disabilities and access and functional needs received the AWNs?


It is Sunday, December 21st. Residents are doing last minute Christmas shopping and preparing for the holiday. Inclement weather over the last week has provided the area with 10 inches of snow cover. Municipal work crews, especially in the northern part of the county, are still gearing down from the previous storm that brought 8 inches of snow to the area. Power has been restored to 98% of the population.The National Weather Service (NWS) has just issued another winter storm warning for your area for Tuesday, Wednesday, and the early morning hours on Thursday (Christmas Day). The NWS weather warning predicts heavy snow north of the midline of the county. The warning will take effect at approximately 0600 on the 23rd and extend until noon on the 25th. Early predictions indicate the possibility of freezing rain on Monday afternoon (the 22nd) turning to snow in the evening hours of Monday with the possibility of 6 to 10 inches of snow falling on Tuesday (23rd) and Wednesday (24th).


  1. What information do you want to relay to the public?
  2. How would you notify the public? WEA? EAS? NWEM? All?
  3. Based on your permissions, what event code(s) would you use?
  4. What WEA handling should you use?
  5. How long do you think your alert should remain active?

Cross-jurisdictional AWN

The body of a local entertainer has been recovered. He was killed while entertaining troops in overseas two weeks ago. His body will be landing with an honor guard at your county airport. The cortege will travel 53 miles westward through two other counties to reach the family cemetery. You are also the Alerting Authority (AA) for the county adjoining you to the west.


  1. What information do you want to release to the public?
  2. Would you geotarget this messaging?
  3. Would your geotargeting change?
  4. What event code(s) would you use based off your permissions?
  5. What method of notification would you used? WEA? EAS? NWEM? All?
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