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FEMA Ups Frequency of Required EAS Test Alerts

Several parties asked for more testing in advance of June 30 CAP-EAS implementation

FEMA has increased the frequency of its required tests over its IPAWS system. That’s to prepare stations for the June 30 deadline by which their new EAS-CAP encoders/decoders must be installed and working.

In a message on the SBE-EAS list serve, IPAWS Program Manager Al Kenyon notes that several parties have asked FEMA to increase the number of RWT messages sent via the IPAWS OPEN CAP EAS Atom feed leading up to the CAP implementation deadline. FEMA proposed increasing the required tests origination cycle from once a week to five times a week, Monday through Friday and received a mostly favorable response.

The increased test originations began this week, Radio World confirmed and FEMA is following approximately the same schedule it had before, with test message origination sorted roughly by time zones.

“We realize that this may represent an increased burden in logged events for those with operational CAP EAS equipment,” stated Kenyon. “This burden needs to be weighed against the challenge that some EAS participants are experiencing dealing with complex firewalls and recently configured Internet connectivity.”

FEMA is using a syndication format called Atom to provide alerts and tests. Once it’s properly configured, the software in a station’s EAS encoder/decoder should automatically poll the IPAWS server periodically for updates.

Stations are required to monitor the FEMA IPAWS feed and they may also be required to monitor a state or local CAP feed, if one is provided. Guidance on state monitoring assignments should be included in EAS state plans. Many of those are being updated before the June 30 deadline.

FEMA IPAWS held an EAS webinarlast week. The archived webinar will be available for about a week here. Click on “View Event Recordings” at upper right. The PowerPoint slide deck from the webinar is available at here under “Archives.”