An emergency occurs; it’s time to alert the public. You have a variety of alerting channels to use: sirens, texting, giant voice, IPAWS, WEA, EAS, email, telephone calls, digital signage, social media and the list goes on. You have to hop from application to application to activate. Time is tight. Pressure is high. Resources are tight.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There are now solutions and approaches available that allow you to streamline the activation process through what we call an Activation Dashboard. We’ve seen several approaches work:

  • Vendors specializing in different alerting channels teaming with other vendors to offer integrated solutions.
  • Customized dashboards built by a systems integrator or internally.
  • Solutions offered by vendors specifically for the purpose of activating disparate alerting channels.

And although we’ve not seen anyone do it yet, there’s capability in IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) that could be used to activate alerting channels beyond the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the two main IPAWS channels.

Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer on which approach would work best. Each situation is different … no wonder since alerting systems use totally different channels and have likely been purchased from different vendors at different times.

You’ll need to understand clearly your needs as well as the technical approaches of each channel. And you’ll need to be diligent in your search for the best alternative.

You may not be able to merge activation for all channels, but you may be able to get close.


(From Galain President Rick Wimberly’s Blog “Alerts and Notifications: Best Practices For Emergency Notification Programs

in Emergency Management Magazine)