With the deployment of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) now in full swing, we we decided to take a look at how many and which originators have signed up as alerting authorities with FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the governing architecture for CMAS. We noticed several trends in the list of originators on FEMA’s IPAWS website, chiefly this promising news: there are currently over 100 local alerting authorities that have completed or are in the process of completing the IPAWS authorization process.
The last time AWARE checked the IPAWS list of Alert Originators there were half as many localities signed up and only one major metropolitan area, New York City. While most alerting authorities appear to be counties, there are around two dozen states and six major metropolitan areas who have also signed up to be IPAWS Alerting Authorities (New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, DC and Las Vegas). Perhaps the panels at the UASI event in Columbus spurred along interest. Or maybe it has been the attention around NOAA’s use of CMAS.
Another interesting pattern we noticed was that where a state has signed up for CMAS quite a few counties have followed. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is an approved IPAWS Alert originator and three Maryland counties are also signed up or in the process. The same is true in Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia just to name a few. Perhaps this means these states have outlined a process for how and when to send out a CMAS alert or maybe this means that these counties are working together on a regional basis to send alerts. To continue our unscientific analysis of the data it also seems that there are more alert originators signed up in areas that face frequent natural disasters such as the gulf states and tornado alley.
NOAA has sent out alerts in New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, to name a few. Additionally, we learned that the first alert was sent out in New York City. Most in this field have known that the National Weather Service would be the originator of the vast majority of this alerts — but we are also interested to know whether any localities have sent CMAS alerts.
If your city or county has issued a CMAS message to date, or if you have been involved in any decision about whether or not to issue a CMAS message, we would like to hear from you, and share your story with other emergency managers. Please contact us at admin [at] awareforum.org.
The other thing AWARE noticed was the newly redesigned FEMA IPAWS website. The new layout makes it much easier to find information with quick links to who the IPAWS Alerting Authorities are in each state and more information on CMAS. Additionally there is more information on how to get more involved and FEMA’s goals for 2012.