I did an EAS program on May 16 for the San Diego SBE Chapter. I have done several programs for broadcasters and emergency managers related to CAP-EAS and hope to do more. After doing several of these programs, there are still lots of unanswered questions on the minds of those subject to Part 11 who relay EAS messages to the public, not to mention questions from the “originator” emergency management community. Many thanks to Gary Stigall, the Program Chairman for the San Diego Chapter, for inviting me to speak. Some of the answers I knew, but I checked with Al Kenyon at FEMA to make sure I could not only pass along correct information to the Chapter in San Diego, but also post it here. Some of the questions that came up at the meeting:
Q: I programmed my DASDEC with the IPAWS OPEN URL but have not seen any tests yet. When are they supposed to come through?
A: The IPAWS OPEN EAS CAP RWT’s are set to go out during your local 11 AM hour on each Monday. FEMA has set up a routine for testing so all tests, no matter where you are, will happen at your local 11:00 hour on Mondays. Their routine begins in Guam and CNMI and walks through eight other US time zones. If a CAP device is properly configured the operator will see only the RWT intended for their local time zone. There are some exceptions. Al Kenyon provided me with a list of states with their assigned time zones and state FIPS codes:
Q: Have any firewall issues associated with IPAWS OPEN polling been identified?
A: So far, no firewall issues have been identified. (If anyone has identified any IPAWS OPEN firewall issue, please let the BWWG know so we can post!)
Q: When I entered a FIPS code for San Diego County for IPAWS OPEN, do I have to also program in the DC FIPS Code to get national EAS events?
A: This should not be necessary since all boxes should have a default to recognize the EAN EAS code. The Commission has yet to rule on the 000000 All-US code. Al Kenyon does not advise programming in the DC FIPS code into a CAP-EAS device unless it is done using an EAN-specific filter (or you are actually operating in the DC FIPS area). Otherwise the EAS box will likely receive severe weather alerts for the DC area.
Q: Are FIPS Codes the best/only granularity than can be selected under IPAWS OPEN right now?
A: The CAP standard includes a provision to use geo shapefiles to specify targeted alerting areas. As far as we know, current CAP-EAS devices do not now have the ability to read and interpret geo shapefiles. This type of geo-description is included in IPAWS OPEN messages supporting alerting pathways that are now more “targetable” such as cell tower/tower sector targeting and Enhanced Telephone Notification such as Reverse 911(tm).
Q: What about programming EAS devices for statewide events that would be originated from CalEMA when they get certified to go through IPAWS OPEN without entering a lot of FIPS codes? [ In case anyone does not know what Boolean logic is: http://www.ithacalibrary.com/sp/subjects/boolean ]
A: CAP EAS devices should utilize Boolean logic to accept alerts directed to the entire state based on filters accepting alerts for one or more counties within that state. This may vary by manufacturer.
Q: When will SAGE release their IPAWS OPEN profile?
A: After checking with Sage EAS guru Harold Price yesterday, he says that they will release the SAGE IPAWS OPEN profile during the week of May 2-26.
Thanks again to Al and Harold for helping to provide answers to questions that came up at the meeting. If anyone has more questions, please email me off list at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try my best to come up with answers.