Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the FCC scheduled the next nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) for August 7, 2019 at 2:20 p.m. FEMA states that this year’s test will differ from the nationwide tests that have been conducted over the past several years in that it will be issued through the National Public Warning System, composed of FEMA-designated Primary Entry Point facilities, to test the readiness of the EAS to function in the absence of Internet connectivity.
THE TEST WILL FOCUS ON THE ABILITY OF EAS TO OPERATE WITHOUT IPAWS OR THE INTERNET. THE TEST WILL REACH EAS PARTICIPANTS AND STATIONS SOLEY BY OVER-THE-AIR MEANS. THROUGH THE TRADITIONAL “DAISY CHAIN.”
According to the FCC:
“Testing the daisy chain will allow the FCC and FEMA to assess whether the national EAS would perform as designed, if activated, and help to ensure the reliability and effectiveness of broadcast-based alerting as a fail-safe to our national emergency communications infrastructure.”
THE TEST PUTS BROADCASTERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT. WE WILL BE BLAMED FOR ANY FAILURES OR BREAKDOWNS. MAKE SURE YOUR EAS EQUIPMENT IS UPDATED AND WORKING ALSO MAKE SURE YOU ARE MONITORING THE PROPER STATIONS!
To prepare the FCC has opened its ETRS window for annual 2019 filings. All EAS Participants must complete the 2019 ETRS Form One on or before July 3, 2019.
Each EAS Participant should file a separate copy of Form One for each of its EAS decoders, EAS encoders, or units combining such decoder and encoder functions. For example, if an individual is filing for a broadcaster (or cable head end) that uses two units combining decoder and encoder functions, that individual should file two copies of Form One.
On or before 11:59 p.m. EDT, August 7, 2019, EAS Participants must file “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two. On or before September 23, 2019, EAS Participants must file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three. ETRS Forms Two and Three will become available in the ETRS at the time of initiation of the 2019 nationwide test.
To access the FCC’s Public Notice click HERE.
To file your stations ETRS Forms click HERE.
For additional information from our friends at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman click HERE.
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