Nixle: IPAWS: Reference Guide for Testing IPAWS


Reference guide for testing IPAWS?


Utilize this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to comply with the IPAWS Mandatory Monthly Proficiency Demonstration requirement for all IPAWS users. In accordance with IPAWS MOA v4.2, each enabled COG operating under an IPAWS agreement must demonstrate their ability to compose and send a message through the IPAWS-OPEN system at regular intervals. Such demonstration must be performed monthly through generation of a successful message sent through the IPAWS-OPEN Training and Demonstration environment (IPAWS LAB Cloud).


  • At least once a month, submit a successful message to the IPAWS-OPEN Lab Cloud Environment using a COG assigned Training/Demo certificate.

  • Agencies can conduct their Proficiency Demonstration at their own discretion. Any date/time within the given month.

  • Both WEA and EAS must be tested (as authorized).

  • If a Training/Demo certificate isn't possessed (hint: usually starts with a “3”), contact IPAWS at

  • The IPAWS Message Viewer can provide alert originators with confirmation of whether the test message was successful: Go to the link listed below and replace the last digits with the Agency COG ID. Example: 30xxxx= replace with COG ID

  • If an issue is encountered causing the test to fail; note the date and time of the alert message and contact IPAWS Customer Support Branch for assistance at 202-212-1082

Configuring Prerequisites for Nixle IPAWS Testing

Install A Test Certificate:

NOTE: If a test certificate is already uploaded, skip to Create a Nixle Group used for Testing.

  1. Log in to Nixle.
  2. Click My Account.
  3. Click Account Information at the top of the page.
  4. Click IPAWS Settings.
  5. Click Choose File.
  6. Select the Test Certificate file. (e.g. IPAWS Open_301234.jks)
  7. Click OK/Choose.
  8. Enter the Test COG ID.
  9. Enter the Test Keystore Password.
  10. Enter the Test Private Key.
  11. Select the Test Certificate type.
  12. Click Validate.
A message will display: Success! Your IPAWS credentials are ready for use.

Create a Nixle Group Used for Testing

A Nixle Group for Testing (e.g. with one or two test contacts) is then needed. If such a group already exists, skip to Send a Nixle IPAWS Test Notification.

  1. Log in to Nixle.
  2. Click Groups at the top of the page.
  3. Click Private Groups.
  4. Click Create New Group.
  5. Enter a Group Name. For this example, enter "Test".
  6. Leave Contact Source blank.
  7. Leave Student Group unchecked.
  8. Enter a Description. For this example, enter "Test".
  9. Leave Keyword unchecked.
  10. Click Create Group.
A message will display: "You have successfully created the group..."

Send a Nixle IPAWS Test Notification

  1. Log in to Nixle.
  2. Click Message Center at the top of the page to start a new message.
  3. For Message Type, select Alert.
  4. For Category, select General emergency and public safety.
  5. For Event, select Evacuation Immediate.
  6. For Severity, select Extreme.
  7. For Urgency, select Immediate.
  8. For Certainty, select Observed.
  9. FEMA suggests entering the following for SMS, Email & Web Message Subject, and Email & Web Message Body:
"This is a Proficiency Demonstration Test Message. No action is required."
  1. For Instructions, enter "No action required.".
  2. Check the IPAWS checkbox.
  3. Under Please select which IPAWS Certificate to use, select a Test Certificate.
  4. Enter the Private Key. (NOTE: starts with PK and is different than the one used for the Live Certificate)
  5. Click Submit Password.
A message will display: "COG Password entered successfully."
  1. Click Test IPAWS Connection.
A message will display: "IPAWS connection OK."
  1. For Response, select Take shelter in place or per CAP Alert <instructions> element.
  2. For IPAWS message will be sent to:, select the checkbox for a jurisdiction.
  3. For Event Code:, select Evacuation Immediate.
  4. Select the WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) checkbox.
  5. Enter a test message in the textbox. For example. "TEST. This is the required monthly WEA test message. No action required."
  6. Select the EAS (Emergency Alert System) checkbox.
  7. Enter a test message in the textbox. For example. "TEST. This is the required monthly WEA test message. No action required."
  8. Under Record, generate or select a message to deliver, select Use Text-To-Speech (TTS).
  9. Enter a test message in the textbox. For example. "TEST. This is the required monthly WEA test message. No action required."
  10. For Message Recipients under Private Groups, select a Test group.
  11. Leave Geographic Filtering blank.
  12. Select the Send Message Now option.
  13. Leave Web Message Expiration blank.
  14. Leave Send to Social Media blank.
  15. Click Preview Message.
  16. Click Send Message.
A message will display: "Success! Your message has been sent."

Verify the IPAWS details at the bottom of the page.

  • A message should display "Sent Successfully" for CMAS and/or EAS (as applicable)
  • Click on the IPAWS Message ID number to see FEMA's system
  • Click the Message ID number again to see full details
  • Green checkmarks should display on the channels tested.
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