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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FEMA: Nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System

 First nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place at 2:00 PM EST November 9, 2011.
The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place at 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on November 9, 2011. The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism. EAS Participants currently participate in state-level monthly tests and local-level weekly tests, but no top-down review of the entire system has ever been undertaken. The Commission, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will use the results of this nationwide test to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism, and will work together with EAS stakeholders to make improvements to the system as appropriate.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a media communications-based alerting system that is designed to transmit emergency alerts and warnings to the American public at the national, state and local levels. The EAS has been in existence since 1994, and its precursor, the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), began in 1963. Television and radio broadcasters, satellite radio and satellite television providers, as well as cable television and wireline video providers all participate in the system (collectively, EAS Participants). EAS Participants broadcast thousands of alerts and warnings to the American public each year regarding weather threats, child abductions, and many other types of emergencies. As such, the EAS will continue to function as one key component of a national alert and warning system that will provide alerts over multiple communications platforms, including mobile communications devices.
More Information:  PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES THAT FIRST EVER NATIONWIDE DIAGNOSTIC TEST OF THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM WILL OCCUR ON NOVEMBER 9, 2011 AT 2 PM EST 

On February 2, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (the Commission) amended its Part 11 rules governing the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to provide for national testing of the EAS and the collection of data from such tests.[1] Newly amended section 11.61(a)(3)(iii) of the Commission rules states in relevant part: “Notice shall be provided to EAS Participants by the Commission at least two months prior to the conduct of any … national test.”[2] The Commission hereby provides notice to all EAS participants that the first nationwide test of the EAS will occur on November 9, 2011, at 2 PM EST.

The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a mechanism to alert the public of emergencies. Although EAS Participants currently participate in state-level monthly tests and local-level weekly tests, there has never been a nationwide test of the system. The Commission, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will use the results of this test to assess what works within the EAS and what does not and working together with EAS stakeholders will make improvements to the system as appropriate. The Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (the Bureau) will continue to provide additional information concerning the first nationwide test of the EAS, through the release of further public notices. Please also visit the Bureau’s web page (http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/), which will continue to post announcements of all significant developments affecting nationwide EAS testing for both EAS Participants and the general public.

[1] See Review of the Emergency Alert System, EB Docket No. 04-296, Third Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 1460 (2011)(Third R&O).
[2] 47 C.F.R. § 11.61(a)(3)(iii).



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