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FEMA Makes Archive of IPAWS Alerts Available

(Image credit: FEMA)

WASHINGTON—Here’s news of interest to the alerting community, including those working in broadcasting.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency now makes available an archive of Common Alerting Protocol, or CAP, messages sent by alerting authorities through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) since mid-2012.

Check it out here. (Note that traditional “EAS only” alerts are not part of this.)

“FEMA leadership prioritizes hosting and publishing the datasets, which allows internal and external partners to understand IPAWS data, conduct analysis and to inform decisions to improve alert and warning,” FEMA stated in an announcement.

“Several stakeholders, including researchers, media, the public and those who have submitted FOIA requests, are now being directed to OpenFEMA for information.”

One of the people interested in this development is Ed Czarnecki, senior director of strategy and government affairs for technology manufacturer Digital Alerting Systems.

“This new IPAWS web archive of alerts should provide a very handy reference source of historical CAP alert data for a variety of users, including academics, policy researchers, the press and others,” he told TVT's sister publication Radio World.

“The IPAWS archive isn’t a real-time resource, and includes a 24-hour delay in archiving messages,” he noted. That delay is to reduce the risk of being confused with an active alert received from the live IPAWS feed.

“So it isn’t something for monitoring or compliance purposes. The new IPAWS archive will only show what CAP alert have been sent into the IPAWS system. It will not reflect which CAP messages have actually been received or processed by broadcasters. The archive will also only show the CAP messages that have been entered into IPAWS, and not any conventional EAS-only messages.”

He noted that for monitoring, aggregating and auditing alert messages at broadcast stations, companies like his own provide tools that aggregate real-time EAS and CAP alert data.

As described more specifically on the OpenFEMA site: “This data set contains recent, historic and archived IPAWS Common Alerting Protocol v1.2 messages from June 2012 to the present including date, time, event code … city, county, joint agency, police, law enforcement, Collaborative Operating Group (COG), state(s), locality, territory or tribe. It can be used to capture and analyze historic and archived messages.”

This is raw, unedited data from the IPAWS Alert Aggregator created by over 1,450 alert originators across the country.

Questions about the program can be emailed to OpenFEMA@fema.dhs.gov.