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.

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75 Comments

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

  2. 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

  3. 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”.

  4. 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.

      • 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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

    • 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

      • Got to MESSAGES – MORE – SETTINGS – EMERGENCY ALERT SETTINGS

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

    • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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