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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

IPAWS wireless alerts premiere in Tennessee this month

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On June 26, 2006 President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13407, which states that it is the policy of the United States to have an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible, and comprehensive system to alert and warn the American people ... and to ensure under all conditions the president can communicate with the American people. FEMA was designated as the office to implement the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). FEMA worked with wireless carriers to begin issuing wireless emergency alerts in the New York City and Washington, D.C. areas prior to December 2011. This month Tennesseans will begin to receive the wireless alerts as well.

"This is a great technology for law enforcement as well as emergency management," said Dyersburg Emergency Operations Manager Mark Grant.

According to FEMA's website, IPAWS is designed to improve public safety through the rapid dissemination of emergency messages to as many people as possible over as many communication devices as possible. To do so IPAWS is using smart phones, tablets and other web-connected devices to inform as many residents as possible.

In order to take full advantage of the technology Dyer County has already requested to be one of the first counties in Tennessee to be capable of transmitting local alerts.

"We can only issue alerts if there is the threat of eminent danger," said Dyer County Fire Chief James Medling during the E911 Board meeting on Tuesday.

Under IPAWS an alert is sent to your wireless device depending on your geographic location. For example, if a Dyer County resident visits Washington, D.C. they would receive applicable Washington, D.C. alerts. The alerts are sent to a targeted geographic location and there are three types of alerts:

* Presidential

* Imminent Danger

* Amber

Users can opt out of receiving imminent danger and amber alerts by adjusting the settings on their wireless device but they cannot opt out of presidential alerts. The following is a list provided by FEMA of devices that are capable of receiving wireless emergency alerts:

* Droid 2 Global by Motorola

* Droid Pro by Motorola

* Droid X2 by Motorola

* Motorola Citrus

* LG Cosmos 2

* LG Revere

* LG Enlighten

Grant reported to the E911 Board on Tuesday that residents could begin to receive the alerts as soon as April. He reassures the board and the community that there is no fee for this service.

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The use of the IPAWS Commercial Mobile Alert Services (CMAS) will require the purchase of third party software to geo-code the cell sites covering the targeted population. That access software is not provided by the FEMA IPAWS office only by commercial vendors. Please see


-- Posted by TallDon on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 9:43 AM


The use of wireless emergency alerts is a free service and does not require the user to purchase any third party software, which is clearly explained in the link you provided. You can also visit Verizon and AT&T Wireless websites which fully explain CMAS and how it will work on their devices. Both carriers state there is no 3rd party software required, as it is built into the phone.

The subscriber must have a WEA capable phone with a participating carrier. As I look at my WEA capable phone, I see a setting for within the phone that allows me to opt out of CMAS alerts for amber alerts and imminent threats. There is no geo-coding as you describe, as the alerts are delivered to capable devices within FIPS coded wireless cell sites.

In a few years, all cell phones made will have to have WEA capability.

-- Posted by ukwildcats on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 10:19 AM

I agree that all cell phones must be WEA capable and the major carriers will relay the CMAS alerts for free. The issue is that activation software needed at the 911 Center or EOC is only provided by a third party software company.

-- Posted by TallDon on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 12:14 PM


Step #1 -- Select IPAWS compatible software

Access to IPAWS is free; however to send a message using IPAWS, an organization must procure its own IPAWS compatible software. Software should be successfully tested in the in the IPAWS OPEN test environment. Consult your software developer to ensure your system is IPAWS OPEN compatible. Or, for a list of private sector developers, see:

-- Posted by TallDon on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 12:19 PM

every thing that president did was a joke!

-- Posted by closerlook on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 2:57 PM

Free you say, then who paid for this system. china? japan? nothing is free people, especially coming from our tyrannical system.

-- Posted by dburgscoundrel on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 5:21 PM

presidential alerts- "Obama-Gram for Mongo"

-- Posted by swampfox on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 6:40 PM

"He reassures the board and the community that there is no fee for this service." actually, nothing is free, we are paying one way or another (those of us that pay taxes anyway).

-- Posted by swampfox on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 6:42 PM

everyone pays taxes, unless they are not buying food ,water,gas.

-- Posted by dburgscoundrel on Tue, Apr 3, 2012, at 7:43 PM

It also requires that you spend about $300 for a smartphone and pay $79.99 a month for the service in order to receive the call. Regular cellphones don't receive it - only the rich are notified.

-- Posted by sophronia on Wed, Apr 4, 2012, at 10:19 AM

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