Integrated Public Alert & Warning System

The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) is FEMA's national system for local alerting that provides authenticated emergency and life-saving information to the public through mobile phones using Wireless Emergency Alerts, to radio and television via the Emergency Alert System, and on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather Radio.

Graphic for IPAWS Celebrating 10 Years of Wireless Emergency Alerts

News and Updates

New Procedure for Opting-In to WEA Tests on Apple Devices

Alerting Authorities may occasionally send test messages to assess WEA performance. Tests are not emergency alerts.

Mobile phones ship from the manufacturer with the test alerts option disabled. The user must enable this option to receive a WEA test. Some phones do not include a test option and cannot receive tests.

To enable test alerts on Android devices, look for State/local test alerts in the phone settings.

The Apple iPhone can receive test alerts, but the procedure to enable them is different depending on whether the device is running recent versions of the operating system, or older versions.

On iPhone, look for Test Alerts in Settings > Notifications > Government Alerts. Apple devices running earlier OS versions do not have this switch. They require entering a sequence of characters to enable or disable tests.

The procedures for both are explained in the Apple support document About emergency and government alerts on iPhone. The section concerning test options is titled Choose to receive Test Emergency Alerts in the United States.

FEMA IPAWS emphasizes that enabling or disabling Test Alerts has no effect on phone reception of official Wireless Emergency Alerts.

The IPAWS Strategic Plan 2022 - 2026

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Program recently released its 2022-2026 IPAWS Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan establishes four over-arching goals and16 objectives. The goals and objectives provide a roadmap toward enhancing the alert and warning ecosystem, which benefits responsiveness to emergency management and public safety officials, and builds public trust, equity and confidence. This four year Strategic Plan focuses on making alerting available to more people and broader demographics, improving the effectiveness of alerts, improving the quality and sustainability of the national alerting ecosystem, and optimizing the IPAWS Program’s service delivery and long-term capability development.

Recorded Webinars

All sessions were recorded. If the recording is not available yet in the links below, check back soon.

PBS WARN alert map for San Luis Obispo County, CA
Learn how to use this valuable (and free) tool. Please join your IPAWS team and PBS representatives in this March 29, 2023 webinar.

How IPAWS Sends Alerts

IPAWS allows Alerting Authorities to write their own message using commercially available software that is Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) compliant. The message is then delivered to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS OPEN), where it is authenticated and then delivered simultaneously through multiple communication pathways. Through IPAWS, one message is created to reach as many people as possible to save lives and protect property.

Utilizing multiple pathways for public alerts increases the likelihood that the message will successfully reach the public. IPAWS is structured to facilitate this functionality.

Diagram shows Alerting Authorities consisting of local agencies, state-wide agencies, tribal governments, territorial agencies, and federal agencies initiating requests through IPAWS OPEN to send alerts, warnings, and notifications via the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, Internet-Based Services & unique state and local alert systems.

Communication Pathways

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) delivers alerts via AM, FM and satellite radio, as well as broadcast, cable and satellite TV.

Cell phones and mobile devices receive Wireless Emergency Alerts based on location, even if cellular networks are overloaded and can no longer support calls, text and emails.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivers alerts through NOAA Weather Radio.

Alerts are also available from internet service providers and unique system developers.

State, local, territorial, and tribal alerting systems such as emergency telephone networks, giant voice sirens, and digital road signs may also receive alerts from IPAWS-OPEN, and future alerting technologies and systems can easily be integrated into IPAWS.

IPAWS Tools by Audience

Whether you're sending, receiving, developing or communicating about alerts, find the tools you need for your role in the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System.

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Have a Question?
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Email us or call 1-844-729-7522 for any further questions.

About the IPAWS Program

FEMA established the IPAWS program in 2006 by Presidential Executive Order 13407. Today there are more than 1,600 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial alerting authorities that use IPAWS to send critical public alerts and warnings in their jurisdictions.


IPAWS is guided by its mission to provide integrated services and capabilities to federal, state, territorial, tribal and local authorities that enable them to effectively alert and warn their respective communities via multiple communications methods.


To provide trusted timely alert and warning to people affected by threats to public safety in the preservation of life and property.

Last updated April 6, 2023