FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program provides an internet-based capability for federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local authorities to use in order to issue critical public alerts and warnings from a single portal to multiple communication pathways such as the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS).
IPAWS must be accessed through software such as Rapid Notify that meets IPAWS system requirements and there is no additional cost to send messages through IPAWS.
IPAWS alerting authorities will be able to send CMAS alerts to cell phones, even when cellular networks are overloaded and no longer support person-to-person calls, text, or emails. CMAS, in particular, may be of interest for alerting authorities that wish to access the capability to send geographically targeted alerts directly to their constituents via wireless cell broadcast
Signing up to become an approved IPAWS alerting authority is a four-step process.
1. Select Rapid Notify as your IPAWS compatible software.
2. Apply for a Memorandum of Agreement with FEMA.
3. Apply for public alerting permissions. Alerting authorities that want to send alerts to the public through IPAWS must complete an application defining the types of alerts they intend to issue and the extent of their geographic warning area (the application must be reviewed and signed by a designated state official before it is submitted to FEMA).
4. Complete IPAWS web-based training. FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers a two-hour independent study course, IS-247a Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.
Visit the FEMA website to find out more about this process.