The FCC has changed its Emergency Alert System rules to allow for national EAS testing and data collection from such tests.
The goal of the national test is to determine whether EAS functions as intended to deliver a national presidential alert.
The changes, adopted Feb. 2, have now been published in the Federal Register and are in effect. The commission’s Part 11 rules now say all EAS participating stations must take part in national tests of the EAS system. The first national EAS test must use the Emergency Alert Notification, the live event code for nationwide presidential alerts. Whenever the national test occurs, it replaces the monthly and weekly EAS tests for that particular month and week.
The new rules require the FCC to give stations at least two months’ notice before a national test; and stations must submit test-related diagnostic information — including whether they received the alert, if they re-transmitted it and the make and model of their EAS encoder/decoder — to the FCC within 45 days. The data won’t be released to the public but can be shared with other federal agencies and state governmental emergency management agencies.
The FCC plans to release a notice establishing a voluntary electronic reporting system that stations can use as part of their participation in the national EAS test.
As we’ve reported, no exact date has been set for a national test, though the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC are targeting this fall, to coincide with the Sept. 30 deadline for participating stations to have next-gen EAS encoders/decoders installed to handle the new Common Alerting Protocol for emergency message delivery.
— Leslie Stimson
“FCC Orders First National EAS Test”