IPAWS Needs Help
FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program is still in its infancy but unfortunately it is already running into trouble. FEMA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) looking for “best methods for providing a highly reliable and highly available application and data center services” to support IPAWS in the future.
IPAWS was used in many high-profile situations in 2013, but it has become apparent that FEMA does not have the necessary technology infrastructure to continue supporting the system. The RFI states the desire of FEMA to explore “mature commercial software solutions” and “commercial hosting solutions” for the system.
According to FEMA:
“Although IPAWS is only one of many applications that reside within the “FEMA Enterprise” IT infrastructure, IPAWS has some of the most stringent requirements for high availability and reliability. For that reason, IPAWS was called out specifically in the RFI and will be engaged in the review process, seeking alternative hosting solutions that can provide high reliability and availability while also increasing resilience and long term cost efficiencies.”
It is important to note that IPAWS is still fully functional and is an extremely valuable tool when used in connection with the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. FEMA has no plans to replace or outsource the IPAWS system.
If you are still unsure what IPAWS is and how it works, please take a look at our helpful whitepaper on the subject here.