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Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS)

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a public alert and warning system that leverages the communications assets of radio and television stations, cable television systems, and satellite cable providers to allow the President of the United States the capability to address the American public during a national emergency.  This system must be available under all conditions.

The system is also used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service (NWS) regularly uses the system to disseminate emergency weather alerts and advisories.

State of Michigan Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The goal of Michigan’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a fully automated system that allows emergency managers to provide citizens quickly with vital information.  The system forwards messages via over-the-air broadcasting using radio and television stations selected for optimal signal coverage.  The State of Michigan is divided into 14 EAS areas.

All broadcasters and subject cable operators are required to participate in the national-level EAS.  All stations and cable systems will carry Presidential messages and will continue on the air for additional messages from the federal or state level.

All EAS activations from the Governor or his/her designee must be carried by all broadcast stations and cable systems.  Participation in the Local Area EAS is voluntary and is encouraged for all broadcasters and cable operators.

State of Michigan Emergency Alert System (EAS) Plan

The State of Michigan Emergency Alert System (EAS) Plan delineates responsibilities and establishes procedures for Michigan broadcasters, cable television operators and state and local entities authorized to use the EAS in Michigan.  The plan provides guidelines on alerting the public through the dissemination of information during national, state and local emergencies.  The plan also provides provisions for continued communications services during emergencies

Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS)


The Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) is a secure network connecting all of the public alert and warning systems in the United States into a single system.  IPAWS is under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The systems included in IPAWS are the:

  • Emergency Alert System (EAS)
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs)
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • All Hazards including HazCollect

IPAWS integrates these systems and is designed to utilize new and/or previously unused technologies such as satellite television, cable television, electronic billboards and the Internet.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) look like texts.  Unlike texts, these warnings are broadcast to all phones within a geographical area.  The alert will identify the type of warning, the affected area and the duration.  The recipient will then need to turn to other sources, such as the radio or TV for more detailed information.

The alert message will include a unique tone and vibration; no charge is associated with the warning, the alerts will not interrupt any calls or downloads in progress; the system does not identify location or phone number, and the WEA message will be received when the recipient enters an area with an active warning.  Older model phones will probably not receive WEAs.