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Industry Seeks More Time to Install CAP-EAS Gear

NAB says training for state and local emergency managers should be expanded and federally-funded

More and government-funded EAS training for state and local emergency managers is needed; and the commission should extend the 180-day deadline for stations to have updated EAS gear installed.

Those are some of the industry suggestions to the FCC on potential changes to the commission’s Part 11 rules governing the Emergency Alert System.

Comments on Part 11 rule changes and specifically on Federal Emergency Management Agency’s introduction of the common alerting protocol (Docket 04-296) were due to the FCC Monday.

NAB says EAS training for state and local emergency managers should be expanded and federally-funded. “Public alerting is a critical function of emergency managers, yet there are no generally accepted standard operating procedures that officials can reference when deciding how and when to activate the EAS, or how to draft EAS messages,” wrote NAB in its filed comments. “During the often stressful periods leading up to and during an emergency, state and local emergency officials are often placed in the difficult position of deciding without clear guidance whether or not to trigger the EAS.” This can lead to unwarranted EAS alerts or ,“potentially more troubling,” delayed EAS alerts, according to the trade association.

NAB also supports extending the deadline for EAS participants to accept a CAP-based alert, saying the much-discussed 180-day “shot clock” may not be enough time for manufacturers to design, test, build and distribute new EAS gear and for stations to install the new encoders/decoders. Barring an extension, the trade association suggests the commission give a break to stations that cannot afford new EAS gear within the deadline.

Coding equipment manufacturer Sage does not believe that a total rewrite is needed before the clock starts, as CAP can begin to be used with the rules as they exist , with minor tweaks. After the industry and the government gains experience with CAP is the time to start thinking about amending Part 11 rules, Sage wrote. CAP/EAS equipment now in the field is upgradable easily with new software, Sage told the commission.

Emergency management services company SpectraRep, part of BIA Financial Network, said for an effective CAP EAS system architecture, Part 11 rules need to be changed to require EAS participants to monitor multiple IP-based CAP alert sources (such as CAP servers), in addition to legacy audio EAS alert sources. Now, stations participating in EAS must monitor a minimum of two audio sources for EAS. SpectraRep also supports extending the 180-day CAP compliance deadline.

“EAS Moves Along” (RW Digital Edition, May 2010)

“Timm: FEMA EAS-CAP ‘Shot Clock’ Not a Hard Start” (April 2010)