FCC Adopts New EAS Rules

At its recent meeting, the FCC updated several aspects of its Emergency Alert Services (EAS) rules. Here are some of the highlights:

Historically alerts have been referred to as Presidential alerts.  This name has been changed “National Alerts” which can be originated not only by the President but also by the FEMA Director.

The alerts need not be directed to the whole country but can also be sent regionally.

There are new requirements for State Emergency Communications Committees that require regular meetings and the filing  of state EAS plans which will now be kept confidential for security reasons.

Allows reporting to the FCC of false EAS alerts not only by broadcasters themselves, but also by local, state and national officials (and encourages the reporting not just of alerts broadcast when there was no emergency, but also of emergency alerts broadcast in a location where they would not be relevant, e.g. an alert about a New York snowstorm broadcast on an Arizona station).

The FCC also commenced a proceeding seeking comment on several EAS changes suggested by FEMA, including whether to delete, redefine, or replace certain EAS codes that are no longer relevant or may cause confusion.  It also solicited comment on updating EAS alerts to support “persistent” alerts that continue to be transmitted through EAS as long as an emergency that could lead to loss of life lasts.

To see the FCC’s decision click HERE.


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