FEMA  Integrated Public Alert and Warning System – Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN)

What is IPAWS?

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is the nation’s next-generation infrastructure of alert and warning networks expanding upon the traditional audio-only radio and television Emergency Alert System (EAS) by providing one message over more media to more people before, during, and after a disaster.  Details of this on-going FEMA program are found at https://www.fema.gov/integrated-public-alert-warning-system.


IPAWS-OPEN is a non-proprietary operational interoperability backbone that acts as a “level playing field” to allow disparate third-party applications, systems, networks and devices to share information in a non-proprietary, open, standards based format. As Federal infrastructure, IPAWS-OPEN is designed to support the delivery of real-time public alerts and other emergency and situational awareness data to the public and to emergency responders in the field, at operation centers, and across all levels of response management.  IPAWS-OPEN serves as test bed to facilitate the development of open non- proprietary standards to support interoperable information sharing for the emergency responder community.

How does IPAWS-OPEN Work?

OPEN provides a vetted SOAP over HTTPS web services for interoperability between clients of multiple “flavors.” As a network of networks it also provides a vetted non-proprietary SOAP connection to other networks which may retransmit messages as appropriate to thier network.

What web services does IPAWS-OPEN offer?

OPEN offers two distinct web service interfaces based on OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee XML Schema Standards:

  1. Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) – This service provides for the exchange of alerts between responder organizations and for the dissemination of IPAWS Profile alerts to designated IPAWS gateways including Emergency Alert System (EAS), Cellular Mobile Alerting System (CMAS), National Weather Service Radio, and and others to be determined.
  2. Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) Distribution Element (DE) – This service provide the exchange of messages in multiple formats to include:
    • Hospital Availability Exchange (HAVE)
    • Resource Messaging (in development)
    • Sit Rep (in development)
    • National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Information Exchange Packag (IEP)
    • Other standard XML data structures with distinct identity and dwell-defined namespace.

What does this mean to you?

If you offer a commercial product or are building a custom application that needs to communicate with other applications to share basic alerts (CAP) or complicated emergency file structures (EDXL-DE), DM-OPEN offers a “write once, use many” interface that uses recognized international standards. If you wish to offer your customers a way to direct connect to the National Weather service for the purpose of broadcasting non-weather emergency messages on NOAA radio, DM-OPEN is the place.

What Can Grandpa do?

It is actually part of my current FEMA tasking to assist developers test and implement their IPAWS-OPEN connections.  Give me a call.

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