Archive for the ‘CAP’ Category.

Alert Blogger Sites Down

The domain host for my alert blogger sites apparently stopped responding to posts on 8 September 2018. I am trying to resolve issues with the hosting provider. Sorry that the alerts are not being posted during this time of increased weather activity.

AlertBlogger Blogs are IPAWS Alerts but not FEMA Official Blogs

I want to be sure that no one confuses my blogs and Twitter accounts that access the FEMA IPAWS Production Public Alert Feed as official FEMA outlets.  They are not.  I am not paid by FEMA to run them.   I do have an MOA with FEMA to access the production Public Alert Feed.  The blogs are my own separate work.   The posts are run from my non-government, personally owned, computer to a blog host that is also not run by, or contracted to, the U.S. Government.

One other note:   The example blogs are actually subject to downtime due to local power failure ( my UPS lasts about 2 hours).  I have a backup on a thumb drive, so I can restart it from any machine that I can get to with access to the internet. I have a laptop ready.  Not your classic active-active redundant operational capability, but the best I can do as a one man band.   If I were to set one of these blogs up for a customer, it would be up to that customer to determine both retrieval customization and  what level of resiliency they wish to have (and pay for).  All levels are possible.

Example Blogs:
1. All recent Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings in the U.S can be found at and/or follow @ipawsweather on Twitter.

2. All recent IPAWS Public Alerts affecting Virginia’s First Congressional District can be found at and/or follow @VA_1st_IPAWS.

3. All production non-weather IPAWS Public Alerts can be found at and/or follow @ipawsalerts.

I Can Now Provide Customized IPAWS Dissemination to Social Media

I have a new offering for all who do alerting using the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). I can create a combined blog, tweet and RSS functionality for your alerts as an IPAWS COG, or for any set of IPAWS Public Alerts. The capability works independently and also as an add-on to any IPAWS capable alert origination software. If you have an IPAWS COG, I can make it work without any special integration effort. If you have software that creates CAP alerts, I can build a connection to that software, depending on the interfaces it provides. If you have your own Facebook Page or Twitter Account, I can connect to that. If you have your own WordPress blog, I can use it for the connection. Or I can provide you with whatever you need. I can do it for messages you originate or, if you are an information consumer only, I can support that for any IPAWS Public alert. I can host the connection for you, or you can host and I will help you set up.

1. All recent Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings in the U.S can be found at and/or follow @ipawsweather on Twitter.

2. All recent IPAWS Public Alerts affecting Virginia’s First Congressional District can be found at and/or follow @VA_1st_IPAWS.

3. All production non-weather IPAWS Alerts can be found at and/or follow @ipawsalerts.

Please note: This is a offering and is separate from my support to IPAWS origination vendors. The IPAWS connection tech support is free (as I am paid for it by FEMA) to such vendors. This new capability will be priced according to the complexity of the solution to be provided. It can be inexpensive. Any time spent on customization will necessarily raise the price.

Actual Tornado video with #WEA alert sounding in t…

Actual Tornado video with #WEA alert sounding in the background!…

Finally, #WEA alerts through #IPAWS on my AT&…

Finally, #WEA alerts through #IPAWS on my AT&T iPhone. I can finally get the results of my own IPAWS efforts.

Warning Myself – Tornado Warnings from IPAWS

I recently wrote an application to pull the actual full alert connected to Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) sent through IPAWS for counties in Virginia’s First Congressional District (where I live). The program then blog/tweets the details ( It is just a test app, but the NWS is posting actual alerts to the test environment I am monitoring. I was in my upstairs office when I got a tweet from @VA_1st_IPAWS of a tornado warning. Clicking on the blog revealed a tornado warning with my office in the direct path. So I went downstairs for safety (where I am now).

But,of course I never got the actual WEA, because I have an AT&T iPhone, and they have yet to work out issues with Apple. So, it looks like I will either have to go with a different carrier who has, or will have to go Android. PITA, to say the least.

Update: No damage to my home. Lots of trees down close by. Nice to be warned so I did not go out some where.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) as a Disaster Recovery Tip

WEA is alive and operational in a big way. The big carriers are fully up and running, as are many of the smaller ones. Currently working with some folks in Puerto Rico. Just finished with some folks serving Mississippi. Both will be ready for hurricanes this summer.

I also saw a nice description of WEA as a Disaster Recovery Tip on the Agility Recovery Web site. Check out:

What Gates are Involved in Developing Applications that use IPAWS?

A recent question from a Commercial Developer:

If I was a public safety or transit organization and wanted to connect to the IPAWS-OPEN for Alert origination and/or dissemination, what administrative (legal, financial, etc.) and technical (information assurance, qualification, etc.) gates would I have to pass?

The answer from the IPAWS Program Office Lead Engineer:

Administrative gates:
1) An MOA is required to connect to our Test Development Lab (TDL) where you can develop interfaces to our system and consume alerts for rebroadcast. The MOA process begins here (
2) Once you have completed your development and have a working system, a separate MOA is required to consume alerts in the Production environment
3) There are no financial obligations by either party

Technical gates:
1) The method you will used to access FEMA systems to consume alerts is through https
2) The MOA contains a rules of behavior that will cover security at a high level
3) The IPAWS Program does not qualify or certify systems but there are a few options for you:
a. First, we have a lab at Indian Head, MD with several alert and warning tools that work with IPAWS. We use this lab to understand the state of the industry for alert and warning. We would welcome you to bring your capability to this lab.
b. Second, the Preparedness Technology Analysis and Coordination Center (P-TAC) performs testing and assessment of emergency management tools. This may be an appropriate avenue for you to have your solution analyzed for suitability for emergency management applications.”

Further Questions? I can help you get started.

Web Services Security – A Link to a Really Good Non-Technical Description

Why you should attach security at the message level, not just use SSL.

I found the following today as a good explanation. It goes all the way back to 2005, but the metaphor still works. See: Naked Motorcycle Riding

Webinar on CAP Use Cases from an IPAWS Perspective

Giving a talk on the ways to use CAP using the new IPAWS CAP 1.2 interface at noon tomorrow (15 Feb 2012). Details:

Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Joint Developer/Practitioner Webinar
Using the Open Platform for Emergency Networks (OPEN) for Public and Private Alerting
Wednesday February 15, 2012 12:00 Noon Eastern

In addition to its role as message aggregator for public alerting, IPAWS-OPEN enables the interoperable sharing of emergency alerts and incident-related data between incident management systems that comply with non-proprietary information standards.

During our next Webinar, System Architect Gary Ham will describe how IPAWS-OPEN provides support for exchanging alerts within a single response organization, between one or more response organizations, with all response organizations, and/or with the public. He will also explain how the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) scope element is implemented by IPAWS-OPEN for public and private alerting.

This program is intended primarily for IPAWS-OPEN developers and testers; however, emergency management practitioners who are interested in learning more about IPAWS incident management-related capabilities are also encouraged to participate. Please make plans to join us via Live Meeting. As always, your questions and comments are welcome.

IMPORTANT: The audio portion of the program will be delivered via your computer speakers. The Live Meeting client must be used in order to receive the audio. Please review the instructions available from: prior to the program.

Login to MS Live Meeting for visuals: The following login link can only be used 30 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting time: