People Reporting FEMA IPAWS Sending Out Large Number of Emergency Alerts

We are receiving hundreds of reports from people throughout the country who are saying their phones are freezing up, some after receiving over 20 FEMA IPAWS Emergency Alerts on their phones.

Back in September, FEMA conducted a nationwide test of their EAS Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS), but that test was announced well ahead of time and did not include the IPAWS WEA integrations that allows these types of messages to be delivered to smartphone devices. Today’s message was not announced by FEMA, so it was either a technical glitch or the system may have been hacked like back in September – then again FEMA just might need to get their shit together!

Most of the reports say the message reads:

“TEST:IPAWSTester- Area Emergency Test #1” Integrated Public Alert Warning System

IPAWSTESTER Message

A number of law enforcement agencies and 911 call centers have been inundated with calls from panicked people who have no idea what these messages mean. The fact that these emergency response agencies are puzzled by the messages suggests that this was not a regularly scheduled test since they would have been informed.

Others have taken to Twitter, trying to figure out how to disable the alerts and stop their phones from freezing up, something that would be a problem during an actual emergency. We are all for being able to alert people during times of crisis, but someone over at FEMA really needs to figure this system out!

What is FEMA IPAWS?

FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is an internet-based capability Federal, State, territorial, tribal, and local authorities can use to issue critical public alerts and warnings.

According to FEMA, IPAWS was built to ensure that under all conditions the President of the United States can alert and warn the American people.  IPAWS allows alerting authorities to deliver alerts simultaneously through multiple communications devices reaching as many people as possible. These communication pathways include Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) that send messages directly to smartphones, even when cellular networks are overloaded and can no longer support person-to-person calls, texts, or emails.

75 Comments

  1. OFFGRID Logo
    Off Grid Survival
    November 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    From the reports I’m seeing it looks like a vast majority of these are coming from US Cellular customers.

    • Kk
      November 7, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Us cellular. Ive gotten 20 plus reports today. Since 10am
      Lamar oklahoma

      • Rhonda Anderson
        November 7, 2016 at 2:07 pm

        Mine started 2 hours ago and I’ve had 12 now! I’m in Indianola,Iowa

        • chris Dove
          November 7, 2016 at 5:26 pm

          Windsor heights Iowa here. I’ve had 10 today.

      • Ky
        November 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        I’m us cellular 3 some 1pm

      • ky
        November 7, 2016 at 2:20 pm

        Southwest in Hollis Oklahoma us cellular 3 since 1pm

    • Jennifer
      November 7, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Nope I have Verizon and am in Southern Missouri

    • Buddy Dylan
      November 7, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Me too here in Tulsa…all afternoon!

    • John Packard
      November 7, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Getting many Ipaews emergency reports..what is up

    • Kate
      November 7, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      I have had like 7 n i have us cellular as well..im in maine

    • Buddy Dylan
      November 7, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Me too here in Tulsa…all afternoon! With all the earthquake hoopla around here, we’re a little skittish!

    • Kellykm
      November 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      I’ve been getting them all morning. I’m in omaha,ne & I am a us cellular customer

    • Darren Miller
      November 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Yep mine to, it best stop before I go to bed

    • Sandi
      November 7, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Im in Il and have gotten 7 so far

    • Shane
      November 7, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      I’ve been getting these constantly. 18 so far today

    • Bev Mooney
      November 7, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      So do you just delete them or what?

      • mag stcyr
        November 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        yes just delete these it is a glitch coming from FEMA they are working to correct the problem

        • Holly
          November 7, 2016 at 9:32 pm

          They stated above..this is not a glitch

    • Victoria Mulligan
      November 7, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Yes I have us cellular I live in northern illinois my phone has been going off all day! Sick of it!

    • William Baker
      November 7, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      I’ve gotten them all afternoon to I’m tired of them

    • Tracy Chicks
      November 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      us cellular in silverlake wa ….. 7 alerts in last couple of hours

      • KFreman
        November 7, 2016 at 6:21 pm

        4 received today in Appleton, Washington
        Verizon is my carrier

    • Malakie
      November 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      US Cellular in Wisconsin.. Not a single one at all… weird.. nothing for us here.

      • Amanda
        November 7, 2016 at 3:10 pm

        Us cellular in Wisconsin and mine has went off all day. Maybe you don’t have your alerts turned on. I had to shut mine off.

        • Amber
          November 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm

          I have US Cellular, I’m in Wisconsin, and I’ve only gotten one. it went off during class.

          • Rox
            November 9, 2016 at 10:34 am

            In WI had 1 couple days ago. US cellular service.

        • Lori
          November 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

          Verizon Wisconsin, 1 alert and it disappeared as soon as i tried to view. A guy at work his went off at 1pm, mine went off at 3:30 pm. only once.

      • Karla
        November 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

        Us cellular in Wisconsin, got 3

      • Shawn Stephens
        November 8, 2016 at 12:13 am

        I have them all day in Wisconsin? Hmmm

    • Meghan Louise
      November 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      I’m getting them since 12 pm CST here in Illinois also a US Cellular customer

    • Stacy Lally
      November 7, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Here in Preston County Wv

      • G. Stemple
        November 7, 2016 at 5:23 pm

        US Cellular, Grant County WV, 2:21 PM, Nov 7 2016.

        • Faith Kittle
          November 7, 2016 at 6:23 pm

          US Cellular, Flemington WV one time around 2:30pm

    • Susie Brown
      November 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      I am US Cellular as well……Tennessee and both my husband and I have gotten three each today

    • Rhonda
      November 7, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      I have received three of these things….I’m in Tennessee/US Cellular

    • Rosanne
      November 7, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      My husband and I’ve gotten several today too. We’re with US Cellular in Washington state

    • Rachel
      November 7, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      They claim it was a software update.

    • Sandra V.
      November 7, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      I’m in Wisconsin and have US Cellular. I got 14 texts this afternoon. My husband got one and my son two. Extremely annoying!

    • April
      November 7, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      North Carolina 1 alert today

    • Bryan Hummel
      November 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Us Cellular 1 today

    • Laura Moore
      November 8, 2016 at 5:41 am

      I have us cellular. I’m in eureka california. I had 4 yesterday afternoon.

  2. Jennifer Brown
    November 7, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I too am a US Cellular user and have now received 5 alerts. I live in Boscobel, Wisconsin.

  3. Sb
    November 7, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    got about 20 of them , I have a Madison phone number

  4. Su
    November 7, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I live in Roanoke VA and I have received these alerts every ten minutes. tried power off and back on but still receiving these alerts

  5. Malakie
    November 7, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Have to wonder.. are they getting ready for something tomorrow with the election?

    • Cheri
      November 7, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      I thought the same thing. They should have more integrity with these “warning” texts.

    • Tony
      November 7, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      I feel as though that may be what is happening. Trying to scare the voters. I’m in Virginia too a small town called Galax. I have been getting these alerts every 3 minutes starting around 2 o’clock

    • Shawn Stephens
      November 8, 2016 at 12:16 am

      That’s what I was wondering

  6. Cheri
    November 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I live in Illinois and have US Cellular. I have received approximately 18 messages~~one about every 10 minutes. Please divulge how to disable these messages. My phone is freezing up. Very disturbing. Nobody will believe these texts in the event of a real warning because of crying “fox”.

    • Sandy
      November 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      If you have an iPhone go to Settings, Then Notifications. Scroll to the bottom of the list to Government Alerts. You should see Amber Alerts and Emergency Alerts.

    • Patrick Smolinski
      November 7, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      Ahhhhh, wolf?????

    • Sherry
      November 7, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      You’re exactly right. We should have been pre-warned and received no more than 2 or 3 !!!

  7. Stacey Luedtke
    November 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Getting messages every 10 minutes as well. REALLY ANNOYING! I Hope this isn’t going to go on all night. I also use US Cellular in Waupaca WI.

    • Nicci
      November 7, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      I also go to us cellular in waupaca. Is there a way to stop the texts?

      • OFFGRID Logo
        Off Grid Survival
        November 7, 2016 at 1:36 pm

        You can disable Everything but the Presidential alerts by going to Messages>Settings>Emergency Alerts on your phone.

        • joe
          November 7, 2016 at 2:23 pm

          Thanks!

  8. Barbara white
    November 7, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    I have recieved 15 or 20 in just a few hours

  9. w hodgdon
    November 7, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    NH, Sprint, got the same message. irritating, can’t stop.

  10. Jefg
    November 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Getting them every 10 mins. Got one typing this. We must have been hacked

    • Bev Mooney
      November 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      I live in redwood Valley calif and getting alerts constantly!!! What the bleep is this?

      • Lori
        November 8, 2016 at 12:53 am

        I’m here in Tucson Arizona and I haven’t gotten that one message since this whole thing started so I don’t know if something started for you guys or and it’s not for us or we’re just not going to be included I don’t know but I do think it has something to do with this whole campaign they have set it up this way

  11. Linda
    November 7, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    In iowa city iowa, not sure why this is only occurring on some phones not others..I’ve received 10 so far…hope to hell if it is an actual alert that we ALL would be warned!

  12. Nicole
    November 7, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I have received these alerts. Four of them today in Hermiston, Oregon.
    I have US Cellular as a provider.

    • Sharyce Bracewell
      November 9, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Grants pass oregon here I have us cellular and got 5 ranging from 11:21 – 1:41pm

  13. AJDAZI
    November 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    HOW TO STOP THOSE MESSAGES. OPEN MESSAGES ON YOUR PHONE, CHOOSE SETTINGS, EMERGENCY ALERTS AND TURN OFF. I TOO HAVE GOTTEN MORE THAN 10 OF THOSE MESSAGES AND WHEN I DID THE STEPS ABOVE THE MESSAGES HAVE STOPPED

    • Heather
      November 7, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      I tried to turn them off through settings with no luck. I’m us cellular in CJ Oregon…it’s absurd every 11 minutes and sometimes 13 minutes apart

      • NT
        November 7, 2016 at 1:48 pm

        Got to MESSAGES – MORE – SETTINGS – EMERGENCY ALERT SETTINGS

        You have to go through MESSAGES (icon on screen), not Settings.

  14. Steven lumpkin
    November 7, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I have had three since around 12. I live in Tennessee and also have us cellular

    • carol
      November 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      I am in TN and have had three that I heard. I am a U.S. Cellular customer also. First one around 2:15 last one at 4:44 p. M. Very annoying.

  15. Lisa
    November 7, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Live in. Crossville tn ,getting them every 15 to 10 min very annoying trying to sleep !!!!

  16. ALS
    November 7, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Maine – US Cellular customer….. Only two so far…..

  17. just another guy
    November 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I had one but that was it in pender county north Carolina

  18. Ellen Muller
    November 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    My phone is going crazy with these alerts! It is even over heating. How do I disable them?

  19. Hunter schalk
    November 7, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I live in randomlake wi an have received one about every ten to fifteen minutes. I too am using a us cellular plan. Their seems to be nothing of any interest(including the genocide of worms due to tillage of soil this time of year) of any interest. In the minute on me writing this, I have received another one.

  20. Jim
    November 7, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I was getting one every 5 minutes for over an hour. About drove me crazy until I figured out how to silence the tone. US Cellular – Oklahoma

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