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 Agency.
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 implemented.
“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
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