How Emergency Offices Can Get Ready for IPAWS Use


Nate Nelson and Kiva Wyandotte from the Hyper-Reach sales department participated in a seminar sponsored jointly by FEMA and the National Weather Service about “best practices” for the use of IPAWS.

You can find this webinar free in the FEMA library at    Here are the main points for those who want the most out of Hyper-Reach/IPAWS and emergency notification overall:

1) Identify carefully both the man made and the natural “vulnerables” in your area.
(industrial, weather, water, haz. mat, fire, etc etc…. look carefully for things not in your current EAS plan.) You may believe that you have done this in the pas,t but periodically it’s important to lookcarefully at potential and current vulnerabilities in your locale.In doing so, you may  realize that a neighboring county or state (or country if you’re a border state) can best manage a specific type of alert. It’s important to form a clear and definitive alliance around that kind of threat so that it’s clear who should best handle the alert.

2) Be very clear about who specifically is authorized to manage the alert.
(Who, by name, is going to be responsible?)(What are the roles of other staff, other agencies, other private and public entities, the public?)

3) Work with your partners: local media, industrial, telephone carrier, public, local government.
(work actively on developing real partnerships that include trust, understanding and communication that is ongoing)

4) Develop clear repeatable steps for action response
(Develop protocols and policies for the use of the IPAWS system and post online/make available in hard copy to all staff and all your partners, if possible)

5) Review public warning plans on a schedule and update your plans,policies.
(Don’t just leave them on a shelf; plans need to be  reviewed and used regularly and available to everyone)

6) Actively educate the public on the use of the system and their part in responsible citizenship around IPAWS and emergency management overall.
( tell them that it is unsafe to disconnect from warning sources)
(ask them to prepare their homes/families for electrical, heat, water,property outages
(get public feedback about how IPAWS is working and make adjustments)

7) Test  launch your IPAWS and go through a set of realistic exercises frequently.
(FEMA allows for  frequent designated tests on IPAWS and it’s important that you run tests regularly and get community feedback on each event.)

8) Keep the FEMA/IPAWS/DHS website handy, there’s a wealth of information on there.