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FEMA: List of CAP-Compliant Gear Expected in March

Broadcasters will continue to be backbone of alerting, say experts

Several EAS experts say broadcasters will continue to be the backbone in a new warning system. That’s one bit of news out of Thursday’s webinar on broadcasting’s transition to the Common Alerting Protocol for the next-generation Emergency Alert System.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith was among those asserting the continued importance of broadcasting to the system.

Damon Penn, assistant administrator of the National Continuity Programs Directorate for FEMA and Jamie Barnett, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, gave overviews of their agencies’ involvement and actions to date.

For example, Barnett said the commission is now “involved in the lessons learned” from last week’s test of a national presidential message, aired in Alaska. A draft of the Part 11 changes necessary for CAP is being reviewed, he said.

Penn said certification for CAP-compliant equipment “is in full swing.” He anticipates a list of compliant equipment will be finalized and posted in March.

The White House, Penn said, will decide when the national EAS test will be conducted; it’s anticipated this fall. The FCC has adopted rules to facilitate the government’s efforts to conduct the national EAS test.

The webinars are part of an outreach campaign by NAB and the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations.

Other webinars are planned that will discuss the national EAS test and funding sources for CAP-compliant gear. The next one is Thursday March 10 and explores the commission’s Part 11 rulemaking proceeding.