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Integrated Public Alert & Warning System

The FEMA IPAWS Program Management Office (PMO) is updating IPAWS to implement enhancements that will strengthen Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The WEA enhancements will improve upon current WEA capabilities already in use by Federal, state, local, territorial, tribal emergency management, and public safety officials nationwide. Additional enhancements and capabilities include:

  • Increasing the maximum character count from 90 to 360
  • Adding support for Spanish language WEA
  • Adding two new alert categories in addition to Presidential, AMBER, and Imminent Threat
    • Public Safety Message - Less severe in nature than Imminent Threat
    • WEA Test Message - Opt in message to support state and local WEA testing
  • Enhanced geo-targeting reaching 100% of the targeted area with no more than 1/10th of a mile overshoot

The IPAWS PMO has already tested with many wireless providers and alerting software vendors and we anticipate the new WEA features will be supported by many providers very soon. However, some wireless providers and alerting software tools will still need to make updates in the coming weeks and months. 

During the update period IPAWS will accommodate all versions of WEA to ensure that the public will receive alerts for which their providers and phones are compatible. If you have any questions, please contact the IPAWS PMO at

This section contains general information about the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure.

During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving information quickly. IPAWS is a modernization and integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure, and will save time when time matters most, protecting life and property. Watch a video about IPAWS.

IPAWS provides public safety officials with an effective way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and other public alerting systems from a single interface. Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial alerting authorities can use IPAWS and integrate local systems that use Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standards with the IPAWS infrastructure. View a list of IPAWS Organizations with Public Alerting Authority Completed in each state.

To learn more about WEA, click here. To view previous webinar recordings, please visit and choose the "View Event Recordings" link located at on the top right hand side of the page.

FEMA's Emergency Management Institute offers independent study courses online to authorized public safety officials and the American people:

  • IS-247a IPAWS Alerting Authority Online Training
  • IS-251 IPAWS for Alerting Authorities Best Practices


Last Updated: 
11/27/2019 - 12:35