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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21 Comments

  1. This stared at 1:45 every 6 to 10 minutes how to stop this I have US Cellular rockford Il it’s driving me nuts

  2. In October the mass internet outages came from devices connected to the Internet that had been turned into “bots” for lack of a better word, to conduct DDoS attacks… in other words they used our own technology against us to shut down the Internet….. ANYONE receiving the FEMA emergency alerts should disconnect any and all devices they are not actively using and monitoring, from the internet.

    This is happening to a LOT of people!!!

  3. For the last hour I have been getting the same report and I am in Oregon for ipaws area emergency alert and its really starting to annoy me and I am a person with disabilities and I think more people complain maybe their systems need to be shut down for good

  4. I’ve gotten 3 so far. Also a US Cellular customer, not sure if that matters. I’ve turned of my emergency alert message notifications and so far I haven’t gotten anymore messages.

  5. These darn alerts are driving me crazy and I can’t turn them off getting them every 15 minutes or so, what’s up here?

  6. I am a US Cellular customer in Oklahoma City, OK and have been getting these alerts all day. (No Sim in my phone nor am I connected to a WiFi network) kinda strange

  7. Experiencing this as well. Sheboygan, WI.
    To turn off the alert system for my galaxy s5: Settings-Messages-Emergency Alerts. Uncheck the types of alerts and sounds. It will not allow you to uncheck presidential alerts.

    • Thank You. After going to settings I did have to also click on search and type in messages then I was able to go to message applications and emergency alert settings and turn them off.

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