Advice and answers from the Regroup Mass Notification Team

What is IPAWS?

 

IPAWS: Integrated Public Alert & Warning System

 

Through the Department of Homeland Security, the US government created a public alert and warning system that can be used by state and local government authorities to notify the public of critical events.

Regroup is an IPAWS originator, this means IPAWS does not have a native interface  to send out notifications and can only be accessed via an IPAWS compliant CAP Alert Origination software sold by companies like Regroup.

IPAWS is simply a notification dissemination tool that allows authorized users to connect to the IPAWS  cloud messaging system to send notifications to TV / Radio, Cell Phones, and other supported devices during a critical event. 

State/local governments, counties, tribes, territories and even agencies at the federal level can request authorization to send messages to the IPAWS cloud. Once IPAWs receives the message, it sends it out to various outlets, including the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA). 

 

Who Can Send IPAWS Notifications?

The following Alerting Authorities can send to the IPAWS cloud: Local, State, Federal, Territorial, and Tribal. The below image shows the states that have applied for IPAWS access.

  

Sign-Up Process for IPAWS

In order to send notifications to IPAWS you need to have a signed Memorandum of Agreement with FEMA. If your potential client doesn’t have this step in place, you can  point them in the right direction for completing this requirement.

  

IPAWS Architecture

Regroup is an IPAWS compliant CAP Alert Origination Tool that is represented by the laptop on the bottom left. 

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IPAWS Alert Disseminators

The below Public Alerting Systems are Alert Disseminators:

Emergency Alert System (EAS): is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS), and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas. (click here for more information).

Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA/CMAS): is a public safety system that allows customers who own certain wireless phone models and other enabled mobile devices to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. These are not push notifications, but rather radio broadcasts coming from a cell tower. Instead of there being only two sides to the cell network – the voice side and the data side – there’s a third side the cellular network carriers don’t advertise: Radio Broadcast – sent to every cell phone within close proximity to the cell tower. So, they’re not push notifications, they’re not SMS messages – they’re radio broadcasts. For example: If 80,000 people are in a stadium watching a football game, every person there will receive the message - along with every other person within close proximity to the cell tower - no cascading of sending out the messages. Everyone will instantly receive the notification. (click here for more information)

NOAA Weather Radio (NWEM): is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages). (click here for more information)

Internet Services: the ability to receive (consume) IPAWS notifications and send them out to other devices. In respect to Regroup, the internet services channel gives us the ability to receive automated weather alerts from NOAA as well as notifications sent from other COG’s (other IPAWS alerting authorities).

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