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National EAS Test Questions Remain

Gary Timm summarizes important outstanding issues

Several questions remain to be answered about the planned national EAS test, according to one expert observer.

They include whether the test will be conducted in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories; whether EAS participants with NN status will be required to sign off during the national test as they would in a real emergency; and whether a national EAS Location Code eventually will be adopted.

Gary Timm, broadcast chair of the Wisconsin EAS Committee, posted an analysis of the recent FCC report and order about the Emergency Alert System on the AWARE social media website.

The R&O provides guidelines for national EAS testing and collection of test data. Timm writes that while the order firms up some points, “many aspects of the testing are still to be decided by the commission, and in one case by FEMA, and on some issues no decision was made at all.”

“There will be national EAS testing and data collection,” Timm wrote. “All EAS Participants (broadcasters and cable operators) must participate; the first test will use the Presidential EAN Event Code; the test replaces the Required Weekly Test and Required Monthly Test for that week and month; there will be a two-month notice before the test; and post-test data that will be required of EAS Participants is considered confidential and for use only by federal and state officials.”

But he cited “differing statements” as to whether the data collected must be submitted within 30 or 45 days.

Other aspects of the national test yet to be determined by the FCC are: “EAS Location Code to be used for the test; if the Emergency Action Termination (EAT) EAS Event Code will be sent as part of the test; if there will be any offline closed-circuit testing of various manufacturers’ EAS equipment to determine any issues before the test; the time of day and length of the test; and if the two-month notice period will be extended for the first national test.”

His post is here.

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