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Developing an AWN Program Plan

  1. AWN System Informationnot completed
  2. AWN System SOPsnot completed
  3. Messaging Templatesnot completed
  4. Training and System Test Informationnot completed
  5. Exercisesnot completed
  6. Review and Download

Step 6: Review and Download 

Step 6 of 6

Instructions

  1. Review the information below.
  2. To make any corrections, return to any of the previous sections, and edit or modify the text.
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  4. In the downloaded Word Document, your plan is completely customizable to fit your agency’s needs.


Alert Plan Content

FEMA IPAWS Alerting Program Plan

1.0 AWN System Information

The complex nature of Alerts, Warnings, and Notifications programs can often make it difficult to clearly explain to Alert Originators the mechanisms available and how to access each system. Having a clear breakdown of the differences between the communication pathways and key contact information can be critical in sending effective and timely life-saving alerts during an incident or disaster. It is encouraged that this information be available during onboarding and refresher training for all employees using alerting platforms.

1.1 Basic Information

A. User Information

Organization: (No Organization Specified)
Date Prepared: (No Date Specified)

B. Agency Need

In 1 paragraph, describe the agency’s need(s) for alerts, warnings, and notifications in day to day operations:

(n/a)

1.2 Alerting Systems and Tactics

A. Which of the following alerting systems and tactics does your organization use?

System Name Audience Benefits Vendor Information Login Instructions
Currently, there are no Alerting Sytems and Tactics

2.0 AWN System SOPs

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are a key factor in successfully sending alerts to the public in a consistent and timely manner. Including SOPs in the training process can ensure new and existing employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and can access critical information efficiently during an emergency event. It also ensures the alerting process is quick, accurate, and avoids public confusion, delayed public response, and degraded trust in alerting systems due to alert errors.

2.1 Training Guidelines

A. Which positions does your agency or jurisdiction have for alerts, warnings, and notifications?

(No Training Positions Have Been Entered)

2.2 Credential Management Guidelines

A. Log-In account Information Guidelines

(n/a)

B. Username and Password Storage Guidelines

Requirements Answers
Username Length (n/a)
Password Length (n/a)
Character Requirements (n/a)
Password Update Requirements (n/a)
Password Update Guidelines (n/a)

2.3 Training Schedule

Training is vitally important for every AWN program.

A. List all AWN roles, required training, and schedule associated with each role:

Role Required Training Schedule
Currently, there are no AWN Training Roles

2.4 Risk Mitigation Strategy

Outline your policy for unexpected situations, including approval chain of command in an emergency, back up data, etc.

A. Who is in the approval chain of command for sending alerts in an emergency?

Name Title
Currently, there is no Approval Chain of Command

B. Do you currently have agreements with other Alerting Authorities?

C. List your policy for chain of command multi-jurisdictional alerts

(n/a)

D. Knowledge Redundancy Contact

In case of an emergency, knowledge redundancy can save time and lives. Consider having another staff member trained on the Alert Originators position. If your agency has a knowledge redundancy system in place, list the contact information below:

Name Title Phone Number
(n/a) (n/a) (n/a)

E. What is the policy on backing up data during an emergency?

(n/a)

F. List your message cancellation strategy:

(n/a)

G. List your plan to mitigate any negative impacts of false alerts:

(n/a)

2.5 File Storage Guidelines and Management

It is vitally important that alert originators have access to templates and pre-scripted messages during an event or disaster.

A. List where any template and pre-scripted messages are kept or stored.

(n/a)

B. List where any training documentation or materials is stored.

(n/a)

2.6 Message Translation Plans

Research has found that some translated messages tend to use more characters than English versions of the same message. Ensure all translated messages are still within the 90- and 360-character limits.

A. Explain how your agency plans to mitigate translation discrepancies

(n/a)

2.7 Event Codes

Knowing which codes your agency has access to can save time during an emergency. Below are the codes your agency is authorized to use:

Currently, there are no Event Codes

2.8 Vendor Software Alerting Instructions

If your vendor has provided your agency with vendor-specific information, include below:

(n/a)

2.9 Testing

A. Alert System Testing

System Name How Often Agency Conducts Tests Test Conductors
Currently, there are no Alert Systems

B. List your schedule for performing the required monthly testing through the FEMA IPAWS Lab:

(n/a)

C. List how your agency accesses the IPAWS Lab:

(n/a)

2.10 Audit Schedule

A. How often does your agency audit your SOPs?

(n/a)

3.0 Messaging Templates

Understanding what information an alert should contain is important for public recipients taking protective action and should be a main focus of AWN training. Alerting Administrators are highly encouraged to make the alert templates as they appear in the alerting system and have sample messages available during the training process. These templates should also include multiple situations in which an alert needs to be sent to ensure that proper context can be applied around each situation (e.g. street closures during a planned event).

3.1 90 Character Messages

Each 90 character message is composed of six (6) basic elements, listed in the table below:

Element Example
A. Source: i.e., Aitkin County Sheriff
B. Guidance - What to Do: i.e., Advises Take Shelter Now
C. Hazard - Where: i.e., Chlorine Gas in this Area
D. Termination in Local Time Zone: i.e., until 4:30PM
E. URL: (n/a)
F. Phone Number: (n/a)

90 Character Example Message

An example of a 90 character message is as follows:

Aitkin County Sheriff Advises Take Shelter Now - Chlorine Gas in this area until 4:30PM

90 Character Messages

Message ID 90 Character Message
Currently, there are no 90 character messages.

3.2 360 Character Messages

Each 360 character message is composed of seven (7) basic elements, listed in the table below:

Element Example
A. Insert title and organization of a local, familiar, authoritative message source: i.e., Elm County Sheriff.
B. Insert a brief description of the event: i.e., Floodwaters are approaching Wood City and will hit two blocks on both sides of Elm Creek from Hwy 110 to Maple Road.
C. Insert the time the event occurred: i.e., Starting at 11am EST
D. Insert a brief description of risk to the people within the boundaries of this event: i.e., The water will be above rooftops.
E. Insert a brief description of guidance to the people within the boundaries of this event: i.e., Move two blocks plus from the creek now and be there no later than 6:00 pm to avoid the flood. ')
F. Termination in Local Time Zone: i.e., This message expires at 11:00 pm, May 15, 2017.
G. Insert addition of URL, phone number, or social media link: i.e., Call (123) 456-7890 for more information

360 Character Example Message

An example of a 360 character message is as follows:

Elm County Sheriff. Floodwaters are approaching Wood City and will hit two blocks on both sides of Elm Creek from Hwy 110 to Maple Road. Starting at 11am EST. People outside will be washed downstream. The water will be above rooftops. Move two blocks plus from the creek now and be there no later than 6:00 pm to avoid the flood. This message expires at 11:00 pm, May 15, 2017. Call (123) 456-7890 for more information.

360 Character Messages

Message ID 360 Character Message
Currently, there are no 360 character messages.

4.0 System Training Environments

Using tools routinely through system training environments allows Alert Originators to practice alerting procedures and gain familiarity with alerting technologies to minimize errors during an incident. Alerting Administrators are highly encouraged to include hands-on-use of their alert platform training environment (if available) as part of their training program. The following are areas that Alert Originators and Alerting Administrators should consider covering as part of their hands-on use training:

4.1 Alert Originators

The following are areas that Alert Originators should consider covering as part of their hands-on use training:

  • How to check an alert message template for errors, prior to sending;
  • How to review alert history and/or logs for possible errors;
  • How to define IPAWS alert status codes for sent alert, with a determination of what the advice codes mean;
  • How to engage vendor support, to include user training, and around the clock technical support;
  • How to create user ID and passwords based on the provided guidelines.

A. Do you have any agency-specific trainings for your Alert Originators?

(n/a)

4.2 Alerting Administrators

The following are areas that Alerting Administrators should consider covering as part of their hands-on use training:

  • How to log in to all systems;
  • Identify the digital certificate expiration date;
  • How to verify user connectivity to IPAWS;
  • How to send a Required Weekly Test (RWT) to ensure it is connected to the correct location;
  • How to identify the differences between automated, template and ad-hoc alerts;
  • How to send an alert via IPAWS;
  • How to send an alert through the vendor system;
  • How to cancel an alert;
  • How to create a new message using the following criteria;
    • Choose proper event code;
    • Create a polygon or circle, of less than 100 nodes;
    • Create free-form 90- and 360-character WEA text, while avoiding prohibited characters;
    • Send one alert to multiple channels (WEA, EAS, NWEM, etc.);
    • Select a pre-populated template and fill it in to the greatest extent possible; and
    • Update or cancel an alert, without having to reenter all of the data.

A. Do you have any agency-specific trainings for your Alerting Authorities?

(n/a)

5.0 Exercises

Including alert training in an organization’s test, training and exercise (TT&E) programs can provide an additional level of context that otherwise could be limited in traditional training settings. Where possible, Alerting Administrators are encouraged to leverage TT&E programs as a means to offer additional training for Alert Originators as well as broader audiences that might be directly or indirectly involved in the alerting process. These TT&E programs could include the integration of IPAWS capabilities into existing interagency, multi-agency, or community exercises. Alerting Administrators are encouraged to include the following as part of exercises:

  • Exercises that are Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) compliant (use the National Exercise Program to request FEMA exercise support);
  • Scenarios involving alerting topics and/or practices such as sending a test alert;
  • Discussions on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements and waivers that could be required should the agency want to send a test alert to the public;
  • Use of the IPAWS Lab for a safe, pre-testing environment;
  • Discussions on test ranges such as the strategic deployment of phones in one-tenth of a mile increments, per FCC rules, to understand alert propagation;
  • Discussions on public relations campaign for pre- and post-test information to include media day and a press kit for reporters;
  • Exercise injects that focus on different parts of the alerting process such as chain of command decisions;
  • After-action sessions that include alerting topics;
  • Development of after-action reports and improvement plans that include alerting topics; and
  • Shared alerting outcomes from after-action reports with appropriate alerting partners.

5.1 Including IPAWS in Exercises

A. By exercising IPAWS, you can do the following:

  • Validate IPAWS use and effectiveness
  • Review and assess alert and warning policies and procedures
  • Evaluate personnel capabilities
  • Identify gaps for improvement

B. How can you incorporate IPAWS into exercises?

  • Familiarize yourself and personnel with IPAWS
  • Assess content of current plans and procedures regarding alerts and warnings
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Expand knowledge of IPAWS
  • Expose areas where IPAWS can be incorporated
  • Improve proficiency
  • Make mistakes and learn from them.

5.2 Testing

It is important to test your templates. Testing methods may be devised locally with assistance from software vendors during training, or with instructions from the IPAWS Lab. FEMA maintains the IPAWS functional laboratory and provides interoperability and functional testing support, Information Assurance support, and overall technical support.

A. How often does your organization test and practice messaging template creation?

(n/a)

B. Does your organization currently have any Collaborative Operating Group to Collaborative Operating Group (COG) testing?

Currently, there is no operating group.

C. Does your agency have agreements in place with local media?

Currently, there are no media agreements.


(END of Alert Plan Content)

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