1. What Are Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs)?
2. Why is this important to me?
3. What types of alerts will I receive?
- Presidential Alerts: Issued during a national emergency
- Imminent Threat Alerts: Issued for extreme weather and other threats to life or property in your area
- AMBER Alerts: Issued for the abduction of a child in your area
4. Is my mobile device WEA-capable?
5. What does a WEA message look like?
- Who is sending the alert
- What is happening
- Who is affected
- What action to take
6. What should I do when I receive a WEA message?
7. What if I’m traveling? Will I receive a WEA message if I’m visiting an area where I don’t live?
8. Will I be charged for receiving WEA messages?
9. Does WEA know where I am? Is it tracking me?
10. Will a WEA message interrupt my phone conversations?
11. How often will I receive WEA messages?
12. If I can’t make or receive calls or text messages due to network congestion, will I still be able to receive a WEA message?
1. How does my organization send Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) to the public?
IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) is the only way emergency managers can send Wireless Emergency Alerts.
Through a partnership between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), FEMA, and commercial mobile service providers, alerting authorities are able to use IPAWS to send WEAs, even when cellular networks are overloaded and can no longer support person-to-person calls, texts, or emails. IPAWS is accessed through software that meets IPAWS system requirements.
2. How can I tell if we are setup to use IPAWS?
3. What type of alerts can we send through IPAWS?
- Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEAs) Public Alerts
- Emergency Alert System (EAS) Public Alerts
- Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) Public Alerts
- National Weather Service All-Hazards Emergency Message Collection System (HazCollect)
- Internal Private Alerts from IPAWS users to other IPAWS users
4. Will my organization be charged by wireless carriers for sending WEAs?
5. How do we sign-up for IPAWS?
STEP 1: Check to see if your organization is already setup to use IPAWS
Your organization may already be approved to use IPAWS. First, visit FEMA’s current list of approved alerting authorities and alerting authorities in process. Alerting authorities authorized to use IPAWS are designated as a Collaborative Operating Group (COG). Each COG administers individual member accounts through its software system. If your organization is already approved, you will need to determine the individual member accounts that have been assigned and add any additional ones.
STEP 2: Select IPAWS compatible software
Access to IPAWS is free; however, In order to send a message using IPAWS, your organization must procure its own IPAWS compatible software. A list of approved vendors is available on the IPAWS OPEN Developer List
STEP 3: Apply for a Memorandum of Agreement with FEMA
To request a COG, an MOA governing security system must be executed between the sponsoring organization and FEMA. Download the MOA application (PDF, 85 Kb) and follow the instructions provided on the application process.
STEP 4: Apply for public alerting permissions
The application for IPAWS Public Alerting Authority will be provided when you apply for a COG MOA with FEMA. It will include contact information for California's designated state reviewer. This must be signed by a state designated official prior to submission to FEMA.
STEP 5: Complete IPAWS web-based training
Applications must complete independent study course, IS-247 Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. This course is a prerequisite for full access to IPAWS OPEN. Once the public alerting application and web-based training is complete, specific alerting permissions will be implemented in IPAWS-OPEN. At that point the individual members specified by the COG will be able to send alerts and warnings in the geographically prescribed areas.