IPAWS Outages Reported
System upgrade hit a snag
December 12, 2012
|MULTIPLE CITIES – Several broadcasters around the country reported outages to the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System Wednesday.
IPAWS is the new emergency warning network that leverages Internet for
communicating alerts. Radio stations and television service providers monitor
the IPAWS for warnings issued from a variety of sources, including the
Emergency Alert System. It is administered by the Federal Emergency Management
Mark A. Lucero, chief of IPAWS engineering, notified participants this week
that FEMA would be upgrading the system on Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. Eastern. As
the day wore on, however, that timeframe was pushed to 1 a.m. Wednesday, but
problems persisted toward dawn.
“I was just informed that the upgrade hit a snag and cannot be completed
tonight,” Lucero wrote in an email sent at 4:55 a.m. to several EAS participant
lists. “FEMA IT Operations will review the build plan tomorrow and schedule a
new day and time to execute the upgrade. In the meantime, the current version
will be rolled back and regular operation will resume.
“This deployment is one of the necessary
steps to bring IPAWS to an "active-active"
arrangement in which two geographically separated systems will run
simultaneously. External interactions (message posts and retrievals) will be
load balanced between the two sites and automatic failover capability will be
“Thank you for your patience as we work through this deployment. We will
provide more information it is made available.”
Within a few hours, participants began to report outages Mike Kluger, director
of broadcast operations and IT for WYNE-TV and FM in New York reported that the
WYNE lost its IPAWS connection at 11:33 a.m. Eastern. Marcos O’Roarke of KWVE-FM
and chair of the Orange County EAS Local Emergency Communications Committee
said California was down as well. Chad Owens of Lotus Radio said Nevada was
also down. Outages were also reported by in Hickory, N.C., West Lafayette, Ind.
Shortly after noon ET, Lucero confirmed in an email that the IPAWS EAS feed
went offline at around 11:23 a.m., and that the outage was elevated to “critical
for immediate attention.” Another message from Neil Graves of FEMA said the
IPAWS EAS feed was online, but it appeared to be followed by another from Lucero
once again confirming the outage.
TV Technology reached out to Lucero
regarding the status of the system. Graves replied at 2:29 p.m. Eastern that “IPAWS is operational at this time.” No further details were provided. ~ Deborah D. McAdams