National EAS Test Tomorrow (August 7th) to Focus on Over – The Air EAS System

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.

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!

Because this test will rely exclusively on the broadcast EAS system, the FCC has issued a Public Notice reminding stations to focus on a number of items:

  • State EAS Plan Monitoring Assignments. EAS Participants should review their State EAS Plan monitoring assignments and work with State Emergency Communications Committee to ensure that they will receive a good signal from those assignments.  The New York State Emergency Plan and monitoring assignments can be found HERE.
  • EAS Designations: EAS Participants should correctly identify their EAS Designation, or function within the EAS. Below are the most common EAS Designations and their abbreviated definitions.  A complete listing is set forth in Section 11.18 of the Rules.
    • A Primary Entry Point (PEP) is a private or commercial radio broadcast station that cooperatively participates with FEMA to provide EAS alerts to the public.
    • A National Primary (NP) is an entity tasked with the primary responsibility of receiving the Presidential Alert from a PEP and delivering it to an individual state or portion of a state.
    • A State Primary (SP) is an entity tasked with initiating the delivery of EAS alerts other than the Presidential Alert.
    • A Local Primary (LP) is an entity that serves as a monitoring assignment for other EAS Participants within the state.
    • A Participating National (PN) is an EAS Participant that transmits national, state, or Local Area EAS messages, and is not otherwise designated within the State EAS Plan.
  • Equipment Configuration: Station managers should ensure that their EAS equipment is in good working order prior to the EAS test, including:
    • Software updates: EAS equipment software and firmware should be updated to the most recent version, and EAS equipment should be properly configured.
    • System clock: EAS equipment clocks that do not automatically synchronize to an Internet time source should be manually synchronized to the official time provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
    • Test code: EAS equipment should be configured to receive and process the National Program Test code and the “six zeroes” national location code.

For more information from the FCC click HERE.

All EAS Participants must have completed the 2019 ETRS Form One on or before July 3, 2019.

DO NOT FORGET TO FILE ETRS FORM 2 ON OR BEFORE 11:59 p.m. EDT, AUGUST 7, 2019

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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