WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Jan. 9, the Navajo Nation Amber Alert and Emergency Alert Task Force accomplished a milestone in bringing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to the Navajo Nation.
The task force is under the direction of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and the Department of Emergency Management.
The new system is named IPAWS.
“We are very excited to know that the IPAWS will be implemented for the Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “This system will not only provide alerts to those on the Navajo Nation through radios and televisions, but through text messages as well.”
They system is intended to provide all citizens within the Navajo Nation on imminent threats, natural and man-made, and amber alerts.
“Mobile users will not be charged for receiving a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and are automatically enrolled to receive them,” said Vice President Jonathan Nez. “This will ensure that all individuals inside the borders of the Navajo Nation receive the alerts.”
The next task is to purchase a Mass Notification Software that is compatible with IPAWS to bring the system to full functionality.
The system will be active within a couple of weeks, a press release said.
“Through the efforts of Harlan Cleveland, Emergency Services coordinator of Navajo Nation Department of Emergency Management, the goal of the taskforce was realized to implement this greatly needed system,” said Director of Public Safety Jesse Delmar.
“AMBER Alert trainings will begin for law enforcement personnel later this month,” Cleveland said.
IPAWS will be operating under a regional plan to cover the whole Nation. The Department of Emergency Management will be the administering department for IPAWS. Emergency Management will work with the surrounding states to send additional AMBER Alerts out.
IPAWS provides public safety with an effective way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and other public alerting systems from a single interface.
As of Jan. 8, a total of 191 WEA messages were sent out. This includes 162 weather alerts, 151 flash flood warnings, 11 tornado warnings and 26 Amber Alerts.
FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System is an internet-based capability federal, state, territorial, tribal and local authorities can use to issue critical public alerts and warnings.