IPAWS Functionality Now Available for InformaCast Mass Notification

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IPAWS for Mass Notification

During an emergency, it is critical that everyone receives the information they need to stay safe. However, reaching everyone can be challenging. If people are not signed up for an alerting service or are not near an area where a message is being broadcast, they could miss critical updates that impact their safety. That’s why Singlewire Software has added Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) functionality to InformaCast Fusion and InformaCast Mobile. IPAWS provides public safety officials (federal, state, local, tribal, etc.) with an effective way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies. This new functionality within InformaCast utilizes the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to broadcast messages. In this blog post, we’ll outline how InformaCast customers can enable IPAWS to send alerts that reach everyone.

FEMA Authorization

InformaCast uses IPAWS to send alerts to WEA, which can reach any cell phone within a geographic area, and EAS, which allows users to set a screen crawl across TV screens for local TV stations. The goal is to provide organizations with the best possible options to reach everyone about critical emergency events. Utilizing these two methods helps extend InformaCast notifications beyond devices that are connected to the system. InformaCast adheres to the WEA 2.0 specifications which means InformaCast users can send 90 and 360 character WEA alerts.

Sign up for IPAWS

The IPAWS functionality is different than standard InformaCast notification methods as it requires approval from FEMA to use. Organizations using InformaCast need to be recognized as an authorized Coordinating Operating Group (COG) by FEMA. This authorization is typically only granted to organizations involved with public safety, such as universities, police, sheriff, and state emergency management offices. Once authorized, a COG can use the IPAWS functionality within InformaCast to send Amber Alerts, Evacuation Notices, Shelter In Place, Silver Alerts, and other relevant emergency notices. Those alerts are typically limited geographically to only send to devices within the county the COG is located.

Using IPAWS with InformaCast

By default, the IPAWS functionality within InformaCast is disabled. When an InformaCast customer is approved by FEMA, they will need to send a request to the Singlewire Software team to activate the IPAWS extension. The Singlewire team will then follow up with instructions on how to access the web interface to input credentials from FEMA and Security Group permissions.

To prevent accidental activation of this feature, the process to trigger a notification is separate from the typical InformaCast notification process. It is not connected to any other existing message templates or distribution groups an InformaCast user may have configured within their system. Authorized COGs are also required to send a monthly test message to FEMA's training system. InformaCast gives users the ability to select either training or production when sending an alert with the IPAWS extension.

Learn more about testing

Extending Mass Notification Reach

This new functionality adds to InformaCast’s robust array of delivery methods to provide even more options for getting the word out during a crisis. Now, even people who are not registered InformaCast users can still receive notifications that let them know about potentially dangerous events in their area. By delivering notifications directly to mobile devices, InformaCast offers the best opportunity to reach everyone with the details that keep them out of harm’s way.

 

 

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