Severe Weather Alerts
The threat of severe weather is ever present, and organizations are looking for solutions that give them a leg up when planning to respond to these natural disasters. Without the right tools in place, organizations can put people and operations at risk, disrupting ongoing activities and causing damage and harm to people and property. That’s why FEMA has been inviting partners to highlight their solutions that leverage the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to share critical weather safety information.
“In the past 10 years, FEMA has carried more than 70,000 messages from public safety authorities alerting people of threats posed by nearby extreme weather events, law enforcement incidents and many other hazards,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell in a recent news release. “In partnership with the Federal Communications Commission and your local public safety authorities, we are working to keep you safe and informed when seconds count.”
Brent Kiedrowksi, vice president of strategic initiatives and channels for Singlewire Software, and John Pyeatt, software architect at Singlewire Software, joined FEMA to share how organizations can use our InformaCast mass notification and critical event management software integrated with IPAWS to share information during an emergency. The full video is available to watch below.
IPAWS and InformaCast
InformaCast utilizes the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to broadcast messages via IPAWS, which provides public safety officials (federal, state, local, tribal, etc.) with an effective way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies. Alerts sent to WEA can reach any cell phone within a geographic area Alerts sent to EAS allow 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 by extending InformaCast notifications beyond devices that are connected to the system.
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.
By default, the IPAWS functionality within InformaCast is disabled. When FEMA approves an InformaCast customer, 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 accessing the web interface to input credentials from FEMA and Security Group permissions.
Contact the Singlewire team if your organization is interested in leveraging IPAWS with InformaCast to send emergency alerts.