National Warning System

The National Warning System (NAWAS), a major component of the Civil Defense Warning System (CDWS), was established with the primary purpose of providing a capability to warn the nation of a threat of a nuclear attack. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, Public Law (PL) 93-288, as amended by PL 100-707, authorized the President to utilize and make available the federal component of the CDWS, NAWAS, for the purpose of providing warning to government authorities and the civilian population in areas endangered by disasters. Under this act, NAWAS can be used for emergencies related to peacetime nuclear accidents, railroad disasters, downed aircraft, and warning of potential natural disasters (e.g. hurricanes, floods, tsunami's, and tornadoes). As part of an overall and effective warning method, NAWAS was envisioned as being suited for disseminating peacetime civil emergency warnings to state and local governments, who are responsible for further dissemination of warnings to other communities and the general public.

Within Washington, NAWAS is comprised of the Primary State Warning Point located in the state EOC, the Alternate State Warning Point located in the Washington State Patrol (WSP) communications center, Yakima; and twenty-nine (29) local primary warning points. NAWAS is a voice only network that allows simultaneous signaling and broadcasting to one or more warning points. Generally, warnings and/or other information is disseminated from the state primary or alternate warning point to all or selected local primary warning points. Based on local procedures and systems, the local primary warning points then contact the local secondary warning points and pass the information to them for action or further dissemination within the jurisdiction. The following map depicts the location of the state primary/alternate and primary local warning points.