Tips on Acquiring and Using FEMA IPAWS Alert Origination Systems

On February 21, 2013, in IPAWS, News, by with SRA International
The FEMA test laboratory at the Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) - photo courtesy of FEMA

The FEMA test laboratory at the Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) – photo courtesy of FEMA

FEMA recently held a webinar giving the latest details on its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), as well as tips for local alert originators on acquiring and using IPAWS alert origination systems.  The session also offered an update on the forthcoming alert originator test lab detailed in December here on AWARE. Continue reading »

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FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Open Platform for Emergency Networks (OPEN) has been making great strides of late with improvements for all IPAWS Collaborative Operating Group (COG) users. Previewed in a webinar today were the features of the latest IPAWS-OPEN release, v3.04. Also highlighted was the availability for state and local alert originators and IPAWS-OPEN developers to make use of the facilities of the FEMA IPAWS Laboratory at the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) in Maryland as a platform to test their systems and alerting capabilities in an environment similar to IPAWS without causing test alerts to circulate in the actual IPAWS network.

The FEMA test laboratory at the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) – photo courtesy of FEMA

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Update on IPAWS and CMAS Usage

On November 16, 2012, in CAP, CMAS & Mobile Alerts, IPAWS, by with SRA International

In a mid-November FEMA webinar, the alert and warning community received an update on the extensive use of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) by the National Weather Service (NWS) over the last several months and an encouraging report from FEMA on the growing number of alert originators and alert origination service developers that continue to request connection to FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

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In a recent webinar, improvements to FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System – Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN) were announced. This is the portal that alert originators use for entering messages into IPAWS, and FEMA is making it easier for them with some new features that will take effect in September with the deployment of OPEN v3.02.

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photo credit: In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog

They City of Tuscaloosa, AL recently received a $124K grant from FEMA to purchase warning system for that city.  As many AWARE readers know, in order to hook into IPAWS/CMAS a locality may have to upgrade their current alerting system to be CAP v1.2 compliant.  So how where can localities find out about these grants and where can they find out about compliant technologies?

There is a list of grants that can be used to purchase “systems used to alert the public of protective actions or to provide warning to the public in the event of an incident, such as sirens, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), and the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).” The list of these grants can be found here:  There seem to be 11 grants available ranging from

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grant Program which “is intended to improve emergency management and preparedness capabilities by supporting flexible, sustainable, secure, and interoperable Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) with a focus on addressing identified deficiencies and needs”

to

The Operation Stonegarden Grant Program (OPSG) which “supports enhanced cooperation and coordination among local, tribal, territorial, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the United States’ borders along routes of ingress from international borders to include travel corridors in States bordering Mexico and Canada, as well as States and territories with international water borders.”

Some look like they might be applicable to a wider population of emergency management agencies, where others are much more specific to tribal or urban area agencies. It is worth it to take a look around this site and see if your agency qualifies for a grant.

Over the past few years FEMA conducted conformance testing on vendor products to make sure they adhered to the IPAWS CAP Profile. This was done at the P-TAC Center (formerly the NIMS Testing Center). They tested both software, Alert Origination Software Provider (AOSP) systems and hardware, EAS/CAP units. Those that did adhere to the CAP Profile were awarded a a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) and posted to the FEMA Responders Knowledge Base (RKB) website  along with a description of their product and contact information. This makes it easier for alert originators to make decisions when looking to purchase or upgrade their systems*.

* This post is informational only and not an endorsement of any of the products listed on these sites by AWARE or SRA International.

 

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