Leveraging the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) To Maximize National Safety
Did you know that there’s a single alert system that unifies all of the national alert systems, including the Emergency Alert System, National Warning System, Wireless Emergency Alerts and NOAA Weather Radio? It’s called the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) — and it saves lives.
Recently, Rave Mobile Safety was selected by the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to power the statewide IPAWS system. Truthfully, this system needs to be in every state, county and city nationwide. Below we’ll discuss why.
What is IPAWS?
IPAWS is an authenticated structure that will provide alerts from the major national alert systems to users in one simple, easy system. IPAWS systems powered by Rave Mobile are able to quickly and easily provide life-saving information to people in a certain area or locale via their mobile devices, TV, radio and satellite radio.
As we all know, in emergencies, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. And this becomes all the more powerful when you consider large populations of people in harm’s way. Oftentimes, as is the case with extreme weather events, large-scale attacks, or other disasters, it can be extremely difficult to alert everyone all at once.
This can lead to injuries and fatalities, many of which could have been avoided with an accurate warning system. Rave Mobile strives to provide that warning system through a customized IPAWS architecture designed for both small-scale and large-scale use.
The history of IPAWS
What brought about the need for and use of an integrated alert system when we already have multiple national alert systems for differing emergencies and disasters?
The answer: the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
In 2005, the Southeast U.S.A. was hit by one of the most destructive Category 5 hurricanes seen in decades. To this day, Hurricane Katrina is still the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
After claiming over 1,800 lives during and in its aftermath, Hurricane Katrina forced us to re-evaluate our warning systems. When the storm passed, there were many criticisms of how U.S. government agencies and forces reacted to the imminent disaster. President George W. Bush soon signed Executive Order 13407, establishing a new system to modernize public alerts.
Prior to the establishment of IPAWS, there was no uniform system for notifying the public about emergencies and disasters. This is a piece of why many blamed the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina: with no single warning system, it made it difficult to ensure everyone was moved to safety in time.
Now, with an integrated alert system, citizens will be notified via their phone, computer, radio and television.
It’s not perfect. In any disaster, there will, unfortunately, be those who do not receive a notification in time. But by integrating alerts across multiple platforms, IPAWS allows an emergency official to mass notify the public on a larger scale than ever before.
How does IPAWS work?
Unlike individual alert systems, IPAWS is not only accessible on one platform. Nor is it only accessible by county or area.
Instead, IPAWS can allow for approved messages to be sent out as widely as nationwide (if approved by FEMA). This is a historic change to our alert system. Instead of forcing cities and counties to contact one another before alerting citizens to a disaster, Amber Alert, or other emergencies, one city may issue a warning to multiple others, given that their alert is approved.
Of course, this is not without its risks and issues. There are still tight restrictions placed on any IPAWS alert system to ensure it is not misused.
Citizens are not granted direct access to the IPAWS system. Rather, federal, state, local, tribal and territorial authorities have access. Therefore, when an emergency is called to 911, the emergency responders have the ability to quickly escalate the claim to the proper authorities.
When deemed a threat to public safety, the general public will then be notified of the emergency via the IPAWS system.
The innovation of Rave’s system
As the leading mass notification system, our IPAWS architectures are among the most sophisticated on the market. When paired with our other systems, such as Rave 911 Suite and Rave Alert, IPAWS allows for a holistic emergency response system that ensures safety across cities, counties and states.
Rave Mobile strives to ensure that public safety is always our number one priority. When an IPAWS system is integrated with our suite of other emergency preparedness software and programs, the general public becomes safer. Though it is impossible to avoid emergencies and tragedies altogether, Rave Mobile is constantly striving to innovate the best new systems in the emergency preparedness space.