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IPAWS Tips

Every month the IPAWS Program Office will distribute a "tip" to emergency managers and software vendors. The tips will cover a wide range of topics, including best practices, recommendations, and current issues. After the tips are sent they will be posted for the public.

IPAWS Tip for February 2021

To help address questions about alerts that are delivered to phones more than 1/10th of a mile outside of the target area or phones that do not receive an alert inside the targeted area, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have established points of contact for inquiries from IPAWS authorized Alerting Authorities.

IPAWS Tip for January 2021

The IPAWS Program Management Office (PMO) is pleased to announce the availability of the IPAWS Technical Services Support Desk (TSSD) 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, including holidays.

IPAWS Tip for November 2020

Event Codes define the nature of an event. Emergency management must select an Event Code when sending Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and Non-Weather Emergency Messages (NWEM - future capability) via IPAWS. The IPAWS Office has created the Event Code Descriptions for Use with IPAWS Fact Sheet and offers examples of how Event Codes appear to the public.

IPAWS Tip for October 2020

Disasters and emergencies often change, therefore, you might need to update or cancel an alert. IPAWS-Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN) provides Alerting Authorities the capability to update and cancel an alert.

IPAWS Tip for September 2020

During 2021, National Weather Service (NWS) offices will implement a new capability allowing Non-Weather Emergency Messages (NWEMs) to be channeled from IPAWS to NWS for broadcast over NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). This capability is a replacement to the discontinued HazCollect program.

IPAWS Tip for August 2020

IPAWS enables alert originators to embed web addresses – Uniform Resource Locators or URLs – into Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). URLs can link to additional information that normally wouldn’t fit in a WEA such as: more detailed instructions, multimedia, alternate languages, and links to products and services that assist those with disabilities and access and functional needs.

IPAWS Tip for July 2020

WEA Tests differ from actual WEA alerts in order to reduce confusion and minimize any chance that they might be misconstrued as actual alerts. It is still possible to gain FCC permission to send a live alert to the public as a test. However, FCC permission for live tests is not automatic. Using live WEA for tests is reserved for special cases and a strong justification must be presented to the FCC for consideration.

IPAWS Tip for June 2020

WEA testing allows you to assess the effectiveness of WEAs in your jurisdiction without disrupting the public while gaining confidence and proficiency. We encourage state and local emergency managers to use State/Local WEA Tests for end-to-end WEA testing, using the Required Weekly Test (RWT) event code.

IPAWS Tip for May 2020

Most Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)-capable phones can now receive a new WEA Alert Class: WEA Test. Recent models of Android and Apple iOS phones, and those upgraded to newer operating systems will have this setting available. However, these phones ordinarily ship to the customer with the WEA Test setting disabled. The phone user must take specific action to enable it to receive test alerts.

IPAWS Special Notice Tip for April 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, some members of the public have expressed confusion related to the use of "Shelter-in-Place" vs. "Stay-at-Home" in public safety messaging. When sending a COVID-19-related message on the Emergency Alert System or as a Wireless Emergency Alert, use the CEM or "Civil Emergency Message" as the event code followed by instructions to the public that are appropriate for your jurisdiction.

IPAWS Tip for April 2020

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are a powerful tool in your alert and warning toolbox; WEA can reach most people in your jurisdiction, whether they are residents or visitors. Points to consider, both before and after you hit send are: Why mobile phones outside the alert area get a WEA and Why mobile phones didn’t receive a WEA.

IPAWS Tip for March 2020

Deciding whether to issue a public alert or warning can be a difficult decision. Ultimately, it is a matter of local judgment. Regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic and distribution of public safety information, IPAWS, including WEA and EAS, may be used.

IPAWS Tip for February 2020

If you’re in need of expert help from someone in the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System’s (IPAWS) Program Management Office (PMO), we are always willing to provide the information you need, and/or connect you to the right person.

IPAWS Tip for January 2020

As the message originator, you should keep in mind the needs of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

IPAWS Tip for December 2019

WEA enhanced geo-targeting: wireless service providers will be required to deliver an alert message to 100 percent of a targeted area, with no more than 1/10th of a mile or 528 feet overshoot.

IPAWS Tip for November 2019

Making Your Required Monthly Proficiency Demonstrations Successful. Starting November 1st, 2019 each Collaborative Operating Group (COG) is required to submit a successful message to the IPAWS Lab Cloud Environment at least once a month.

IPAWS Tip for October 2019

To help ensure that warning messages are effective, they must be issued in a timely manner by a clearly identified source. The public is more responsive to clear messages that are free of jargon and use plain language. The threat must be clearly stated, and include the location, time, and expiration of the event. All messages should include a call to action.

IPAWS Tip for September 2019

How you write an alert/warning message is nearly as important as what you write.

IPAWS Tip for August 2019

When creating an alert, it is important to make sure the correct event code is used.

IPAWS Tip for July 2019

FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and radio and television Emergency Alert System (EAS) participants, will conduct a nationwide test of EAS beginning at 2:20 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019.

Last updated March 8, 2021