The term IPAWS software relates to the Standards Based Alert Message data format used to aggregate alert messages and deliver them through multiple channels of communication to citizens at risk of danger. The software is effectively the middleman between alerting authorities and communication service providers.
The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) was developed between 2006 and 2011 with the aim of modernizing the country´s existing alert systems. Prior to the development of IPAWS software, each alerting authority had a choice of up to four different warning systems depending on the type of threats they anticipated and the mechanisms put in place in order to alert citizens to the risk of danger.
Consequently, whereas in some areas of the country, alert warnings were widely broadcast via TV, radio, digital signage, and public sirens, in other areas the warning systems were inadequate. IPAWS software resolves this imbalance by enabling federal, state, tribal, and local governments to send geo-targeted messages through multiple channels of communications to maximize the reach of the alerts.
Background to the Development of IPAWS Software
The event that prompted the development of IPAWS software was Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Criticisms of the federal, state, and local governments’ preparedness and responsiveness led to President Bush ordering the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a new program that would integrate the existing but disparate Emergency Alert System, National Warning System, Wireless Emergency Alerts System, and NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Alerts System.
The result was IPAWS – an Internet-based system that could be used by public safety officials to issue critical public alerts and warnings from a single portal via multiple channels of communication. One of the significant advantages of IPAWS software over the previous systems is that geographically targeted alerts can be sent to areas likely to be effected by an emergency event, even when cellular networks are overloaded and unable to support person-to-person calls, texts, or emails.
How IPAWS Software Works
IPAWS software – such as that found in the Rave Alert platform – is accessed via a web-based portal. When an emergency incident occurs – or extreme weather is forecast – public safety officials log into the platform from any Internet-connected device, and either compose a warning from scratch or use a prepared template to accelerate the alert process. The message can then be sent via a selection of communication options to citizens in areas likely to be affected by the incident.
In addition to the previous communication options of TV, radio, public signage, and sirens, public safety officials can also send emergency warnings via the Internet and SMS text. Consequently a far wider audience can be reached using IPAWS software than before. Furthermore, the platform supports two-way communication to enhance situational awareness and provide emergency managers with ears on the ground so they can direct emergency response to where it is needed the most.
Find Out More about Rave Alert and IPAWS Software
If you have a responsibility for public safety in a federal, state, tribal, or local government, and you would like to know more about Rave Alert and IPAWS software, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of communications experts will guide you through the features and benefits of Rave Alert as they apply in your own specific circumstances, and organize a free demonstration of our IPAWS software in action.
Rave Alert is already in use in multiple jurisdictions to help better prepare citizens for an emergency and to keep them updated until the incident is over (you can read case studies about the effectiveness of Rave Alert here and here). Make sure your jurisdiction is best prepared to alert its citizens to any emergency incident. Speak with our team today.