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Informational Materials

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Program Management Office (PMO) develops informational materials about IPAWS to increase understanding and awareness of this unique program. These materials are periodically updated as components of IPAWS mature and new information becomes available.

Search IPAWS’s digital library to find information about IPAWS. Email the IPAWS PMO at if you are interested in learning more.           

Governance and General IPAWS Information

IPAWS Strategic Plan FY14-FY18 
Strategy that supports the IPAWS Vision, Mission, Goals, and Objectives. It is the cornerstone document upon which other programmatic and technical documents build.

The IPAWS PMO, in partnership with alerting authorities, private-sector partners, federal governance partners, and non-profit and advocacy organizations, strengthens the nation's alert and warning capabilities, and provides educational and actionable information to the American people to ensure all segments of the population understand the functions of IPAWS and how to respond to alerts and warnings from public safety officials.

Diagram showing how standards-based alert message protocols, authenticated alert message senders, and shared access and distribution networks work together to deliver alerts and warnings to public interface devices.

IPAWS Glossary
Definitions of commonly used IPAWS terminology

Information for the Public

Overview of IPAWS for the American People
Local and state public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and private industry are working together to make sure the American people can receive alerts and warnings quickly through several different technologies at home, at school, at work, or even on vacation.

General overview of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and the components and dissemination channels through which alerting authorities can distribute lifesaving alerts to the public within their jurisdiction. This presentation illustrates the capabilities, processes, and success stories of IPAWS in action.
The IPAWS PMO, in partnership with and the Ad Council, created WEA Public Service Announcements for radio and TV, in English and Spanish. 
Instructional Material for Presenters is a learning guide for students on Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). This guide is used by educators to teach students about WEAs.
Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEAs, are emergency messages sent to your cell phone by public safety and weather officials to grab your attention and help keep you safe during an emergency. This WEA word search and activity sheet teaches children about the benefits of WEAs.   

AMBER Alert Fact Sheet
WEAs about America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) alerts are sent from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in accordance with instructions from state AMBER coordinators. The AMBER alert program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases.

Information on tools and technologies that can be used to send and receive alerts and warnings, how to prepare for emergencies, and what to do when you receive important information from your public safety officials.
This fun and interactive course is designed to educate you about the variety of alert and warning tools and technologies public safety officials can use to send life-saving alerts. The 15-minute course also has a section focused on how to respond after receiving an alert.
This five-minute video offers a comprehensive overview of IPAWS.
Know what to ask your cell phone provider and how to check to ensure your cell phone can receive WEAs.
Flyer shows how the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System reaches the public in their daily lives, with alerts on the radio, digital highway signage, online, on TV, smartphones and mobile devices.

Information for Public Safety Officials and Alerting Authorities

How to Sign Up for IPAWS
Four steps for alerting authorities interested in becoming authenticated to send alerts and warnings through IPAWS. Detailed instructions on how to sign up for IPAWS, with the necessary application form, are also available on the Alerting Authorities web page. (en Español)

Alerting Authorities Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 
IPAWS provides authorized alerting authorities at all levels of government with the capability to integrate their alerts and warning systems with the national alert and warning infrastructure and send critical information to the public before, during, and after an emergency to allow the public to take the necessary actions to ensure their safety and minimize damage to property. 

IPAWS Toolkit for Alerting Authorities
The IPAWS Toolkit for Alerting Authorities provides Federal, State, territorial, tribal and local public safety officials with resources to assist them as they adopt the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), incorporate IPAWS, and ensure their communities understand how to access, use, and respond to public alert and warning information. 

The IPAWS Adoption Checklist offers public safety officials with step-by-step instructions to apply for access to IPAWS, COG-to-COG messaging, and the nation’s public alert and warning infrastructure. Public safety officials can use this checklist to review the requirements to use IPAWS and more effectively alert the public before, during, and after an emergency.  
This document was created to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial public safety officials in the creation of public alert and warning plans. This template can be used in part or in its entirety to support public safety efforts.
The IPAWS Lab is a safe and effective environment for public safety officials to test and exercise alert and warning technologies interoperable with IPAWS.
The list of IPAWS AOSPs that have successfully demonstrated their IPAWS capabilities includes those providers that demonstrated their IPAWS capabilities via a series of webinars hosted by the IPAWS PMO.
The IPAWS-OPEN system enables the interoperable exchange of messages between government organizations to enhance situational awareness and collaboration.
The IPAWS PMO supports efforts to mitigate identified limitations and improve IPAWS message delivery pathways by coordinating statewide testing activities.

How Indian Tribal Governments Can Sign Up For Public Alert and Warnings
Tribal elected officials may designate emergency alerting authorities to apply for access to IPAWS for the purpose of sending public alerts and warnings within a tribe's jurisdiction. 

Alerting People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs Fact Sheet
Describes how the Common Alerting Protocol enables alerting authorities to send rich, multimedia messages which can be incorporated with emerging assistive technologies to provide alerts and warnings to the whole community.

To reach the whole community, it is important to remember the wide diversity of the public's needs and preferences when it comes to receiving information.

FY 2017 Supplemental Grant Guidance on Public Alert and Warnings
The purpose of the FY 2017 Supplemental Guidance on Public Alert and Warnings is to provide guidance to grantees on public alert and warning activities that can be funded through federal grants; technical standards that facilitate interoperability; and recommendations for planning, coordinating, and implementing alert and warning projects.

IS-247a is a required online course for IPAWS public alerting authorities; IS-251 is an advanced training course for alerting authorities. Course content includes: (1) the benefits of using IPAWS for effective public warnings; (2) skills to draft more appropriate, effective, and accessible warning messages using best practices in alerting; (3) best practices in the effective use of Common Alerting Protocol; and (4) information about Collaborative Operating Groups — how they are issued, their structure, their capabilities, and more.

EAS (Emergency Alert System) Best Practices Guide
The Emergency Alert System Best Practices Guide was created in partnership with EAS participants to support incremental improvements by providing basic guidelines for EAS operation and maintenance.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate sponsored the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University to develop a series of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) best practices for alert originators. Additionally, SEI proposed recommendations for enhancing trust in the WEA service among stakeholders — a crucial factor in WEAs.
Designed to assist communities with templates for A&N plans and procedures, governance MOUs, communication plans, and EAS and WEA survey forms as well as implementation checklists, technical specifications, and sample message text.
Key benefits for alerting authorities that complete authentication and use IPAWS
Organizations wishing to alert through IPAWS may download a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Application. After completing, email the form to

IPAWS Components

Describes the importance and features of the IPAWS Open Platform for Emergency Networks, or IPAWS-OPEN, which authenticates and routes alerts and warnings to existing and emerging public alerting systems.

Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Implementation Fact Sheet
Descriptions of how the Common Alerting Protocol is integrated into IPAWS and explains the benefits of using a single standard.

Emergency Alert System (EAS) Fact Sheet
The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers, and direct broadcast satellite providers to provide the President with communications capability to address the American people within 10 minutes during a national emergency.

Wireless Emergency Alerts are free messages sent directly to your cell phone,warning you about severe weather, AMBER Alerts and threats to safety in your area.
Wireless Emergency Alerts are emergency messages sent to your cell phone by public safety and weather officials to grab your attention and help keep you safe during an emergency. The purpose of WEA is to provide an increasingly mobile American public with a free and fast way to receive critically important information. (en Español)


Last Updated: 
07/16/2019 - 10:17