What To Know About the IPAWS Lab Cloud Update

Picture of Scott McGrath By Scott McGrath

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alert phoneIn October, FEMA put in place a requirement for Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) alerting authorities to conduct mandatory monthly proficiency demonstrations. Each authority or Collaborative Operating Group (COG) is required to send at least one successful EAS or WEA message to the IPAWS Lab Cloud every month. There are more than 1,100 federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial areas that can use IPAWS to issue critical public alerts and warnings, and many more authorities are in the process of implementing IPAWS to issue alerts. 

The Lab Cloud environment is a completely new environment configured to support wider functionality and bandwidth for training and exercises. As the Lab Cloud environment is new, alerting authors may need to update their demo certificates in their activation software. Some organizations using mass notification software might find that their vendors have already updated their demo certificates so that upon the activation of the new Lab Cloud environment, they will be fully configured to use the new environment. For example, Rave has already installed the demo certificates on our platform.

The IPAWS Lab Cloud went live for the majority of alerting authorities during the month of October, 2019. The purpose of the IPAWS Lab Cloud is to provide public safety officials with a controlled testing environment where alert and emerging technologies can be exercised to test capabilities and effectiveness with IPAWS. There are three methods for testing with the IPAWs Lab including on-site, off-site, and independently, according to FEMA. The IPAWs Program Management Office provided a “Checklist For Testing With The IPAWS Lab” for alerting authorities, which is designed to provide best practices for testing alert and warning technologies within the lab environment. 

Related Blog: Time for a Tune-Up? Get the Most Out of Your Alert System

October 2019 has been considered a “practice month” allowing authorities to double check configurations and permission managements, and activate against the test environment as needed. Full compliance monitoring for the monthly tests began on November 1, 2019. The Lab Cloud is a safe and functional environment for public safety officials to test alert technologies compatible with IPAWs. Training within the lab environment can increase an authority’s confidence, guaranteeing that in the case you need to send an alert to the public doing so can be accomplished quickly and effectively. 

If your jurisdiction is an IPAWS alerting authority, be sure to put your procedures in place to run successful monthly test activations by the end of November 2019. 

If you have questions about your certificates or these procedures, FEMA suggests emailing IPAWS@fema.dhs.gov. If you need assistance with your overall COG configuration on your vendor platform, contact your vendor for support. Rave Mobile Safety customers can use our standard support channels for assistance if needed.

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Scott McGrath

Written by Scott McGrath

Scott McGrath is Public Safety Solutions Architect and has served in several roles at Rave for over 10 years. Scott works with customers directly as a client resource and solutions architect to ensure that our products are optimized for the specific needs of our customers and focused on best practices - before, during and after onboarding. Scott also works with Rave's Customer Success team on training tools, including Rave Academy online learning management system courseware, live trainings by webinars, and on-site with customers. Scott has 29 years of experience in web, education, and safety high technology, and has worked at Sun Microsystems, Educational Testing Service, Ziff-Davis Communications, AT&T, and Percussion Software as a technology specialist and product manager. On the personal side, he's got abiding hobbyist compulsions for tech gadgetry (computers, headphones, mobile tech), music as both a listener and a player, and a notorious obsession with cows that defies explanation.

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