The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA), and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Thursday, September 20, 2018, at approximately 2:20 PM EDT. "Berrien County Emergency Management relies on this system to alert the public in times of emergencies to take protective actions", said Capt. Rockey Adams who is the commanding officer of the Emergency Management Division. He is asking for the public's help in assessing the wireless emergency alerting coverage within Berrien County. "We'd like to take advantage of this test to hear if the Berrien County public received the test. We like to ask the public to complete a short survey on our webpage", Adams added. The community can go to www.bcsheriff.org and click on the Emergency Management pages to find the IPAWS survey. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and will become active on Sept 20.
The IPAWS system sends alerts out automatically and users do not need to "sign up" for this service. To receive wireless emergency alerts; however, users may need to look at the system settings in their smartphone to ensure the feature is turned on. Your phone service provider may be able to help you if you are unsure how. Berrien County also has an "opt-in" service, called "B-WARN!", in which the community can sign up for. This system allows the Emergency Management Office to send out text messages, voice phone calls, and email emergency alerts to offer additional ways of being alerted.
The IPAWS test will assess the operational readiness of the IPAWS infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine if technological improvements are needed. The EAS test will be conducted in conjunction with radio, television, and cable operators in all U.S. states, territories and tribal lands, and the WEA test will take place in coordination with participating wireless providers. This will be the first nationwide IPAWS WEA test. You can learn more about IPAWS at https://www.fema.gov/integrated-public-alert-warning-system. You may learn more about the National test at https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.