Using IPAWS for Mass Notification

While IPAWS has been available for years now, there are still thousands of jurisdictions that are not Alerting Authorities. And given the power of IPAWS Wireless Emergency Alerts, we think it’s worth reviewing the reasons to become an authorized Alerting Authority and why getting the software needed to send IPAWS messages is so useful. 

  1. IPAWS requires no registration – anyone in a target area can receive the message on their phone.
  2. IPAWS messages can now contain 360 characters as well as hyper-links. So you can send a bulletin with lots of information to the public.
  3. Many COVID-19 situations qualify for WEA messages. The rules for sending a message via WEA are simple: an imminent and likely loss of life or property. Since the coronavirus is highly contagious and has a known estimated mortality rate, we think any significant exposure to the general public fits this definition.
  4. To support FEMA’s push to get more qualified governmental agencies to participate, we’re offering – for a limited time – IPAWS for free to new customers.

If you’re not already an authorized Alerting Authority and want more information, you can reach us at 877-912-7437 ext. 3, or fill out the form here

Use Event Notification for Group Meetings

We’ve been talking about our new Event Notification service for a while now.  It’s very simple – which is how we want it: we create a code you can use for visitors, attendees, etc. to join a special purpose list, which they do by texting that code to our registration number. They’re automatically added to the list, so when you send a message, everyone who’s registered gets the text message. 

The original idea was to send messages before and during an event, such as a public festival, concert, fishing tournament, etc. Now, with the coronavirus, there’s another important and valuable use for this service.

Because the incubation period for COVID-19 averages 5 days and can be as long as 14 days, it’s possible that attendees may develop symptoms only AFTER they have attended an event. So getting all participants to register for alerts as a means of reaching them after the event is potentially just as important as communicating with them before and during the event. 

For a fuller description of communication strategies for mass gatherings, we recommend the CDC’s guidance and the WHO paper that can be found here.

Promote Registration for Emergency Notification

One of the lessons we’ve learned over our many years of providing emergency alert services is that crises are very effective in getting the public to sign up for emergency alerts. Telling your residents that you’ll be using your emergency alert service – and following through – to update them about threats and advice about COVID-19 motivates folks to register for alerts. That serves both the purpose of being more effective in informing them about COVID-19, and also for future purposes. Remember to include a link to your sign-up page on every press release and news story you put out.

If your department or agency isn’t the right one for public health communications but you want to offer the use of Hyper-Reach to the right agency, please let us know. Because of the urgency of this situation, we’ll work with you to enable anyone in your community to use Hyper-Reach to enhance their communications. 

And providing that information is important. In addition to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, this World Health Organization paper is very useful in developing a communication strategy for the COVID-19 situation.