FCC Issues Report on August EAS Test

On August 11, 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (Commission or FCC), conducted a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) using only the broadcast-based distribution system, otherwise known as the “EAS daisy chain. This was the sixth EAS nationwide test.

The test demonstrated that the national EAS distribution architecture is largely effective as designed.  As anticipated, the test also shed light on challenges that impeded the ability of some EAS Participants to receive and/or retransmit the test alert.  The overall results of the 2021 nationwide demonstrate the following:

  • The test message reached 89.3% of the EAS Participants, an increase from 82.5% in the 2019 test.  The 2019 test and this year’s test both evaluated the broadcast-based architecture.  The overall retransmission success rate was 87.1%, which is an increase from 79.8% reported in 2019;
  • In this year’s EAS test, FEMA and SECC representatives reported that seven Primary Entry Point stations experienced technical complications, down from twelve Primary Entry Point stations that experienced similar complications in 2019;
  • Test participants reported roughly half as many complications with receipt and retransmission as compared to 2019

New York has some work to do.  According to the FCC’s analysis, 43 stations in their FCC filings noted that they did not receive a test alert.  (The fifth highest failure rate in the U.S.)  Most of the problems are due to monitoring issues.  As the FCC noted:

Table 12 shows which test participants by state, did not receive the alert and explained that this failure was due to monitoring source issues (i.e., not interference, antenna, or equipment issues).  While this data does not definitively show that inability to receive a transmission was related to PEP or NP complications, it does show where there were large scale transmission issues.  Notably, the states with the highest number of reported monitored source issues were not those that experienced PEP station complications.  Although the factors to which we can attribute this discrepancy likely differ from state to state, one case study in Michigan revealed that the failure of a PEP station did not result in large scale reports of failure to receive monitored sources because an alternative monitored source was good quality and the first to arrive at the EAS equipment.

We need to do better in New York!  To read the FCC’s full EAS report click HERE.


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