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IPAWS

Information for emergency management officials in Tennessee about the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), including applying for IPAWS access, selecting alert origination software, and guidance for alerting entities.

What is IPAWS?

Being able to alert and warning the public quickly in an emergency can save lives.

IPAWS provides a single interface that allows emergency officials to warn the public effectively during serious emergencies through the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio. 

Federal, state, local, tribal and territorial alerting authorities can also integrate local systems that use Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standards with the IPAWS infrastructure.

How do I apply for IPAWS access?

Local jurisdictions in Tennessee seeking to become IPAWS alerting authorities will work through a series of steps with TEMA to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for IPAWS access.

A local jurisdiction must have IPAWS-compatible alert origination software in order to access the IPAWS platform and transmit alerts and warnings to the public.  Click for a list from FEMA of IPAWS-compatible alert origination software vendors have demonstrated their IPAWS capabilities.

Step-by-Step

Step #1:  Complete the Application for IPAWS Alerting Authority (PDF Document) and return to TEMA.  The application contains instructions for completing.

Step #2:  Along with your IPAWS application, send a written copy of your agency’s public alert and warning policies.  If your agency does not have a public alert and warning policy, see the Strategic Guidance section below to download a Template Emergency Communications Plan (PDF Document), to help with your policy creation. 

Step #3:  Complete the IPAWS-required training course, ICS-247 IPAWS Alerting Authority Online Training, https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=is-247.a. ICS-247 training certifications should be sent to TEMA for everyone who will be able to access your agency’s IPAWS software system.  Another recommended IPAWS training course is ICS-251 IPAWS for Alerting Authorities, https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=is-251.

Step #4:  TEMA staff will review your IPAWS application, policies, and training certificates, and follow up with any requested changes, corrections, and questions.

Step #5:  After staff review, your IPAWS application and materials will be submitted to the TEMA Director for review and signature of your Application for IPAWS Alerting Authority.

Step #6:  After the TEMA Director has signed your IPAWS Alerting Authority Application, it will be returned to you for submission to FEMA.

Step #7:   Apply to FEMA for a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) to access the IPAWS platform. An MOA request form can be found below or on the IPAWS website (http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/112266).  The MOA application should be completed and returned to FEMA with the signed IPAWS Alerting Authority Application, to IPAWS@fema.dhs.gov.

When the MOA is signed by FEMA, you will receive an IPAWS digital certificate allowing your IPAWS-compatible software to access the IPAWS gateway.

For IPAWS Questions and to Submit Application Materials

Dean Flener
TEMA Executive Officer
Dean.flener@tn.gov
615-390-3842

NOTE:  FEMA now requires all approved alerting authorities to conduct monthly, proficiency tests with their alerting software, or lose their ability to access the federal IPAWS platform to send alerts and warnings.  This testing requirement should be noted in the alerting policies for the organizations.  If alerting authorities are not familiar with how to use the Open/Demo testing area of their IPAWS software to conduct the proficiency test monthly, they should contact their software vendor.  This is not something TEMA can assist with or do on their behalf.

Strategic Guidance

State of Tennessee 2013 EAS Plan (PDF Document)

TEMA Communication and Warning Annex (PDF Document)

FEMA Application for IPAWS Alerting Authority (PDF Document)

FEMA MOA Application (PDF Document)

Template: Emergency Communications Plans and IPAWS (PDF Document)

EAS Best Practices Guide (PDF Document)

IPAWS 101 (PDF Document)

FEMA IPAWS Information (https://www.fema.gov/integrated-public-alert-warning-system)

FCC EAS Page (https://www.fcc.gov/general/emergency-alert-system-eas-0)

FCC WEA Page (https://www.fcc.gov/public-safety-and-homeland-security/policy-and-licensing-division/alerting/general/wireless#block-menu-block-4)

Ready.gov/Alerts (https://www.ready.gov/alerts)