FEMA Asking Digital Signage Networks To Join Oct. 4th National Test Of Alert Systems

September 19, 2023 by Dave Haynes

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency is doing a national test of its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) in early October, and asking digital signage network operators to help out with the testing.

IPAWS provides authenticated, life-saving emergency messages through mobile phones, radio and TV and digital signage through the IPAWS All-Hazards Information Feed.

Public kiosks, outdoor billboards and displays in other commercial and institutional settings can connect free of charge to this IPAWS feed, and display alerts that apply to particular locations and network operator preferences.

Dangerous weather, fire, law enforcement incidents and many other local hazards are among the public alerts disseminated by IPAWS around the clock.

On Oct. 4, 2023, at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET, IPAWS will transmit a National Test over all its communication pathways including the All-Hazards Information Feed. This brief test is required by federal law every three years. It will display a short nonemergency message, which will require no action by recipients.

FEMA urges digital signage networks to connect to the IPAWS feed, supply this National Test to their screens and report their results to us.

FEMA says the national test has two elements – testing WEA and EAS capabilities. Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide test, but the second test to all cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test.

FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with EAS participants, wireless providers, emergency managers and other stakeholders in preparation for this national test to minimize confusion and to maximize the public safety value of the test.

The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11. 

More details here in this FEMA news release.

  1. Jay Leedy says:

    Thanks for sharing Dave. In my opinion this request from FEMA further legitimizes Digital Signage as critical communications infrastructure for public space, transportation, education, OOH, healthcare, hospitality and enterprise markets. We in the DS community have been selling on this capability for a while, but now more than ever client investments can serve multiple purposes with support coming in part from GSOC and Emergency Response budgets.

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