DHS S&T has been working with the FEMA IPAWS office and state and local response teams since early 2009 to develop effective alerts, warnings, and notifications programs, as well as identifying gaps in existing IPAWS alerting messaging.
Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)
FEMA, in coordination with DHS S&T, has released the “Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Program Planning Toolkit.”
FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. The WEA portion of the test, which will be sent to consumer cell phones, will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT. The EAS portion of the test, which will be sent to radio and television, will follow at 2:20 p.m. EDT. This will be the fourth nationwide EAS test and the first nationwide WEA test.
The purpose of this Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Report on Alerting Tactics (Report) is to provide recommendations on effective combinations of alerting tactics for various incident types based upon lessons learned from practitioners.
FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), postponed the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) until October 3 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Continuity Programs Directorate Office of Continuity Communications Director Antwane Johnson addresses the importance of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), how the system was used during the events of January 13, 2018, and the steps FEMA is taking to improve the system.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Office of Continuity Communications Director Antwane Johnson addresses the importance of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), how it is used to save lives across the country, and the future of the IPAWS program.
Since 2012, S&T has funded academic research to improve the WEA technology focused on how the public responds to alerts and warnings, and enhancement of WEA’s geo-targeting capabilities.
A significant long-standing challenge for imminent threat alert originators (AOs) at all levels of government is how to quickly communicate warning messages to people in danger, while avoiding to warn those not at risk. Providing effective warnings of an imminent threat, such as a dangerous tornado, can save lives. Ideally, people can take shelter before the tornado strikes if they are provided enough warning time.
Effective alerts and warnings during a disaster protects people and saves lives. Over the past decade, mobile communication technologies have become ubiquitous. Disaster and emergency messages sent directly to end users has emerged as a promising new practice. In particular, short message service (SMS) text message formats have emerged as a modality that is both practical and popular as the majority of Americans now use smartphones. In regards to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wireless emergency alerts (WEAs), these messages are pushed out through commercial mobile carriers to customers who are located geographically near the hazard, and newer smartphones are ‘WEA enabled.’