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The National Public Warning System

This section contains information about the National Public Warning System (NPWS), a highly resilient component of the nation’s public alert and warning capabilities.

The National Public Warning System (NPWS), previously known as the Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations, are private or commercial radio broadcast stations that cooperatively participate with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters. The FEMA NPWS stations also serve as the primary source of initial broadcast for a national alert. NPWS stations are equipped with back-up communications equipment and power generators designed to enable them to continue broadcasting information to the public during and after an event. The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Program Management Office (PMO) expanded the number of participating broadcast stations across the nation to directly cover more than 90 percent of the U.S. population. The NPWS station expansion ensures that under allconditions the President of the United States can alert and warn the public.

An example of a modernized Primary Entry Point (PEP) station. The fenced in PEP station is comprised of two large red structures that resemble shipping containers and a satellite dish.
A modernized Primary Entry Point (PEP) Station used for supporting the Emergency Alert System. This PEP station, at WLW Cincinnati, became the second modernized station in the National Public Warning System (NPWS).

NPWS Modernization and Expansion

In September 2009, FEMA contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to equip selected radio stations to become part of the FEMA NPWS. The NPWS stations provide resilience for emergency information, alerts, and warnings to the public. The IPAWS PMO is also modernizing existing NPWS stations with next generation alert and warning equipment and additional resiliency features.

Secure satellite communications were fully integrated with the NPWS to provide a reliable, redundant communications system to support national emergency alerts and information.

The IPAWS NPWS Modernization and NPWS Expansion project includes and maintains 77 operational stations throughout the U.S. and its territories. Direct coverage of the nation’s population expanded from approximately 67 percent in 2009 to more than 90 percent in 2015, when all 77 PEP stations became operational.

Last Updated: 
10/22/2019 - 15:18