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How Arizona's emergency alert system works

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 19:49:48-05

Many might be wondering who is responsible for issuing an emergency alert; like the one sent out over the weekend in Hawaii. 

The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) runs a command center, where alerts can be sent out, at the National Guard base in Phoenix.

Communications Director Morgan Hoaglin said the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is part of a complex network called the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

IPAWS allows authorities from a county, state, or federal level to warn the public about an imminent threat.

Hoaglin said the public could be alerted by cell-phones, televisions, or radio.

Even though DEMA uses EAS, Hoaglin says there are several checks and balances in place to prevent a false alert.

"We do have protocols in place that allow us to have at least two people involved," said Hoaglin.

Hoaglin says, if somehow a false error was sent out, a retraction could be made within minutes.

Hoaglin says the emergency notification system is tested weekly at DEMA in Phoenix and monthly statewide.