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National Test Details Continue to Solidify

Gary Timm summarizes what's known, notes planned guidebook from FEMA

When the national EAS test is conducted this fall, its location code will be for Washington, D.C. The president will not voice the test, nor will NOAA Weather Radio carry it. And the test is for legacy EAS, not CAP, which will be tested later.

These are among helpful facts about the national test compiled by Gary Timm, broadcast chair of the Wisconsin EAS Committee.

A consultant for Touchstone Consulting Group, he writes on the website of AWARE (which stands for Alerts, Warnings & Response to Emergencies), summarizing details aggregated from recent webinars about the Nov. 9 national test.

He wrote that the test length will be between 3 and 3-1/2 minutes. The Emergency Action Termination (EAT) code will not be used. The test will consist of the Emergency Action Notification (EAN) code followed by the audio message and finishing with the End of Message (EOM) code.

Because the procedure does not follow the FCC EAS Operating Handbook, FEMA plans a guidebook on the test, Timm noted.

The test will be disseminated nationwide through an NPR satellite channel and a network of specially-designated Primary Entry Point stations. “Many states with inadequate PEP coverage will rely on the NPR feed to carry the test,” he wrote.

Stations that normally monitor a PEP station may see PEP RWTs on their EAS unit logs in months before the test. “Nothing special needs to be done in regard to the tests. This information is just being provided here as an explanation if such tests are noticed on your EAS unit log,” he said.

He also noted questions that have circulated about whether the FCC will fine stations that do not carry the test or have problems. He said the commission “has stated that while by law they cannot waive enforcement, they do have discretion in issuing fines and the intention of the post-test reporting is to assess the success of the test; it is not an enforcement exercise.”

Read it here.