Tag Archive | training

Learn About WEA and IPAWS

More and more government agencies are signing up for access to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). FEMA has made it easy to learn about the system with a free online course. The goal of the three-lesson course is to provide best practices, increased awareness of the benefits of using IPAWS for effective public warnings, skills to draft more appropriate, effective, and accessible warning messages.


Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), sent via IPAWS, are only just starting to be utilized. They are still largely unknown to the general public. Ready.gov has an extremely helpful PSA video as well as answers to frequently asked questions about the system.

WEA emergency messages can be sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier for situations such as extreme weather, and other threatening emergencies in your area, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.

The subject of IPAWS comes up often with our customers and it can be a confusing and complicated system to explain. We updated our comprehensive white paper explaining what IPAWS is, what it can do for you, and how it works in connection with the Rapid Notify system. We highly recommend you download the paper today.

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Use It or Lose It

Periodic testing your mass notification system is a best practice we highly recommend. Not only does it help to ensure that your messages are up-to-date and ready to use, it also serves as a reminder to your select group of test alert recipients that the system is active and available.

Another important reason to test your system is making sure the users in your organization are properly trained. Using the Rapid Notify system is easy to learn but we find that if our customers do not practice on a regular basis, they forget about many of the most powerful features available to them.

Periodic testing can also be a reminder to monitor internal accountability. Customers that experience staff turnover may not realize that the person previously designated as their Rapid Notify Customer Administrator did not train or even inform their replacement regarding access to their account.

We encourage all of our customers to contact our outstanding Customer Support team to schedule an online refresher training session. Our system has many new features that you may not even be aware of such as Reusable Scenario Alerts, Social Media posting and more.

Contact us today.

Advice from a Seasoned Incident Commander

When it comes to using social media, everyone seems to have an opinion as to how, where, when and what to post. Thankfully an experienced incident commander has written up some best practices for using social media in the field based on real-world experience.

Fire TrucksBill Boyd is a retired fire chief from Washington who served as an incident commander for the Northwest Incident Management Team. His recent article for FireRescue magazine provides an excellent outline for getting started with using Twitter and other social media for emergency management.

Boyd begins by outlining a hypothetical emergency situation in which the incident commander feels that everything is under control while at the same time the public is in a panic due to lack of communication and misinformation. He then goes on to explain how incident commanders can take advantage of the powerful social media communication channels to calm and inform the public.

Boyd recommends that incident commanders keep an open mind toward using social media and be willing to invest the time to become familiar with how the platforms work.

Highlights from his tips on getting started with Twitter include:

  • Select a short username
  • Find and follow local “power users,” people and agencies with a large number of followers and who are frequently “retweeted.”
  • Follow other local, state and federal emergency response Twitter accounts, and retweet their stuff.
  • Don’t tweet on behalf of your agency unless you have permission. If in doubt, check with your agency legal department or administration.
  • Use a hashtag with your tweets. For example, if you tweet about fire tactics, consider adding #firetactics or #fire #tactics in the tweet.
  • Tweet frequently, at the very least a few times a week or daily if you can.

This article is a worthwhile read for anyone wary of using social media for emergency management. The public increasingly turns to social media for news and communication and organizations of all kinds need to be a part of the conversation.

Read more: http://www.firefighternation.com/article/technology/how-social-media-changing-incident-command

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