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Testing with the IPAWS Lab

The IPAWS Program Management Office (PMO) provides public safety officials with a controlled IPAWS testing environment where alert and warning technologies can be exercised to assess capabilities and effectiveness with IPAWS. 

The IPAWS Lab is a closed IPAWS environment capable of demonstrating alert dissemination to all IPAWS pathways including the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), Non-Weather Emergency Messages (NWEM), IPAWS All-Hazards Information Feed, and Collaborative Operating Groups (COG). The primary purpose of the IPAWS Lab is for public safety officials to gain confidence using IPAWS in a safe and closed environment.  Additional purposes of the IPAWS Lab include alert and warning functional assessment, alert dissemination validation, training, procedural and process evaluation, and the establishment of functional requirements.

What capabilities exist at the IPAWS Lab?

  • An interactive and closed IPAWS environment used for testing and training
  • Large-scale to small-scale table-top exercise support
  • Independent alert validation tool (IPAWS Message Viewer)
  • Functional assessments
  • Developmental assessments
  • Demonstrations
  • Knowledgable staff who support testing and are available for troubleshooting
  • Conference center to host webinars, training, and technical demonstrations

The IPAWS Lab is located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland.  Under direction of the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), a command of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the IPAWS Lab supports independent testing and provides the FEMA IPAWS PMO with interoperability and functional assessments, operational tests, IPAWS demonstrations, and overall technical support.

There are three methods to test with the IPAWS Lab: on-site, off-site, and independently.  The IPAWS PMO released a "Checklist for Testing with the IPAWS Lab" which is provided to alerting authorities when their test certificate is issued.  The checklist is designed to provide best practices for testing alert and warning technologies within the IPAWS Lab environment.  The IPAWS PMO also conducted a recorded webinar "Testing with the IPAWS Lab" which can be reviewed by anyone interested in testing IPAWS.

For alerting authorities wishing to test independently, the IPAWS PMO has developed an IPAWS Message Viewer. The Message Viewer is a web interface that interacts with the IPAWS Lab environment. It enables authorized alerting authorities to obtain alert validation independent of IPAWS Lab support.  For a copy of the IPAWS Message Viewer Instructions, please email the PMO at

The IPAWS Lab is a safe and effective environment for public safety officials to test and exercise alert and warning technologies interoperable with IPAWS.  Training within the IPAWS Lab environment will increase the confidence of alerting authorities, ensuring that if they need to send an actual alert to the public, they will be able to do so quickly and effectively.

Contact the IPAWS PMO at with any questions about using or connecting to the testing and exercise environment.











Last Updated: 
11/13/2017 - 11:45