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

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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.


Your state has been in a Severe Drought Response mode for the last two years. This year’s forecast is for less rainfall than either of the two previous years. You just completed a two-day conference at the capital. The Governor has instructed each county and jurisdiction to release notifications to alert the public about water shortage and water usage (both consumption and recreational). The Governor will be releasing a statewide message but wants local authorities to reinforce that message with local specifics.


  1. What information do you want to release to the public? No lawn watering? Reduced showers? Drink bottled water?
  2. Would you geotarget this messaging?
  3. What event code(s) would you use based off your permissions?
  4. What method of notification would you used? WEA? EAS? NWEM? Or all?


National Weather Service Bulletin tsunami message number 1 NWS west coast/Alaska tsunami warning center palmer AK 905 am EDT Wed June 24 20XX …a tsunami warning is in effect which includes the coastal areas of New Jersey - New York - Connecticut - Rhode Island and Massachusetts from Sandy Hook New Jersey to Merrimack River Massachusetts… …this message is information only for coastal areas of Texas - Louisiana - Mississippi - Alabama - Florida - Georgia - South Carolina - North Carolina - Virginia - Maryland - Delaware and New Jersey from Brownsville Texas to Sandy Hook New Jersey… …this message is information only for coastal areas of Massachusetts - New Hampshire - Maine - New Brunswick - Nova Scotia - Newfoundland and Labrador from Merrimack River Massachusetts to Cape Chidley Labrador… …this message is information only for coastal areas of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands… Recommended actions it is not known - repeat not known - if a tsunami exists but a tsunami may have been generated. Persons in low-lying coastal areas should be alert to instructions from their local emergency officials. Evacuations are only ordered by emergency response agencies. - persons in tsunami warning coastal areas should move inland to higher ground. This message is based mainly on earthquake data. As more information becomes available the warning areas will be refined.


  1. Who would issue this type of AWN – the Federal Government? The State? Your jurisdiction?
  2. What steps do you need to take to implement your AWN system?
  3. Is this enough information for you to issue an AWN?
  4. If yes, how? WEA? EAS? NWEM? All?
  5. What code(s) would you use?
  6. How long would the AWN be in effect?

HazMat - Gas/Vapor

It is 9:15 a.m. on a Friday in late May; rush hour traffic is easing on Interstate XX (NEED SOMETHING, NOT XX). There is a mile long mixed-content freight train heading to the industrial area of _. The train is traveling at 40 mph. These tracks cross over Interstate XX about a 3/4 mile from the downtown exit. Suddenly a wheel on a freight car cracks and the car derails. Nineteen cars derail before the train can stop. The first four derailed cars become wedged on the interstate overpass. The remainder are accordioned down the track, covering both sets of tracks. Some of the contents of the freight cars spill onto the interstate. The material appears to be baled paper. Several multi-vehicle accidents have occurred on both directions of the interstate. Several vehicles are on fire and the wind is blowing the flames toward the paper bales. One tank car is laying on its side about 500 feet from the interstate and is leaking a dense whitish, pungent vapor. The wind is 10 mph and blowing the gas away from the interstate and towards a senior citizen housing complex about a 1 1/2 miles away.


  1. What are your AWN messaging priorities at this point?
  2. Would you us a WEA? EAS? NWEM? Or all?
  3. What message code(s) would you use?
  4. What would be the geographical distribution (targeting) of this message?
  5. When would you cancel this /these notificagtion(s)?

Special Event - Entertainment

It is late spring and in two days, your jurisdiction will be hosting a music concert at __. This venue is indoors. The event is expected to attract 30,000 people. Scalpers are getting 5-times the original ticket price. Lodging is sold out. This event was planned 14 months ago. In the interim, the administration has changed.


  1. What AWN system(s) would you use during the lead-up to this event and in which contexts?
  2. What percentage of the population does your AWN cover?
  3. How does your jurisdiction determine the effectiveness of the AWN?
  4. Would you send out any notifications about this event?
  5. What event code(s) would you use?

Alerts - Blue

It is November 5, 20XX and a State Trooper has been shot during a traffic stop. The incident occurred on Interstate 223 at exit 51 towards Pentonville at 11:45 pm. The suspect has not been apprehended, but is known to law enforcement due to past criminal history. You have been requested to send out a BLUE ALERT alerting the public of his name and physical description as well as what they should do if seen.


  1. Do you have Plans, Policies or Procedures for this type of scenario?
  2. What information would you share with the neighboring jurisdiction?
  3. Would you release an AWN?
  4. How would you release this information to the public? WEA? EAS? NWEM? Or all?
  5. Would you geotarget this messaging?
  6. What event code(s) would you use based off your permissions?
  7. Would you include a URL in the message?

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