Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), America's 911 operations centers, are on the front lines in times of crisis, fielding emergency calls and dispatching assistance to those in need. Now PSAPs can expand their lifesaving mission with the ability to send emergency alerts to their communities.

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS, maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is an integrated gateway through which an authorized public safety entity — such as a PSAP — may alert the public to emergencies such as a wildfire or an AMBER alert for a missing child. Using IPAWS, authorized users may send alerts through the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which delivers the information via radio, television, and other media, and/or Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), which are delivered to consumers’ cell phones.

We encourage state, local, and tribal emergency management authorities to visit FEMA’s “How to Sign Up for IPAWS” website, review the IPAWS materials, and strongly consider qualifying their PSAPs to participate in IPAWS. It is not difficult for a PSAP to receive authorization and obtain compatible software to send alerts through FEMA’s IPAWS system, and it’s an effective way of making sure that the families and households in your communities get timely information they may need to stay safe. PSAPs that have questions or seek additional information should email IPAWS@fema.dhs.gov