New Handbook must be available at all participating stations; Initial report forms can be filed starting October 26

The Commission has updated the Nationwide EAS Test page on its website to include: (a) a new version of the EAS Handbook specially devoted to the nationwide test; and (b) the on-line forms to be used by all EAS participants to report on their experience in the Big Test.

IMPORTANT: Every EAS participant is required to have a copy of the new Handbook at “normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations where an operator is required to be on duty”. It would be a good idea to click on the link to the Handbook provided above, print out as many copies of the Handbook as may be necessary for your operation, and get them distributed NOW.

While you’re deploying the Handbooks, you should be sure to familiarize yourself with its contents. It provides step-by-step instructions for the Nationwide Test, helpful tips to assist in preparation for the event, and directions for dealing with the unexpected. (The unexpected, in this case, includes what to do if you don’t receive the alert code or can’t send the code along. The instructions don’t seem all that helpful, however: “Determine why you did not receive [or are unable to send] the EAN alert code, [then] Take appropriate corrective action”.  Looks like "Throw your hands up in frustration and move on to some other chore" is NOT an acceptable response.)

We previewed the reporting forms in our post yesterday. No real surprises there. EAS participants may log on as of today to complete and submit “Form 1”, which asks for some basic identifying information. Forms 2 and 3 aren’t accessible yet (although we have previously posted screen grabs of the forms as submitted by the FCC to OMB, and they are described in the FCC’s on-line instructions for electronic reporting of the Nationwide EAS Test results). According to the FCC’s instructions, Form 2 is to be completed and submitted on November 9, and Form 3 is to be submitted between November 10 and December 24.

All you multi-station owners might want to get cracking on filling out Form 1 – a separate form will be required for each separate station participating in the EAS test. (Cable owners will have to file a separate form for each headend.)

While the website instructions are silent about filing these reports on paper (as opposed to the electronic alternative available on-line), the Commission’s Handbook indicates that the information may be submitted on paper. However, it doesn’t appear that the Commission has prepared any particular form for that purpose, so presumably anyone choosing that option would simply type out the information required by the three on-line forms and send it in by December 27. 

(Yes, we see that the on-line instructions call for submission by December 24, while the Handbook says December 27. We’re guessing that that’s because December 24 – technically the 45th day after the Test and, therefore, the deadline for submissions – falls on a Saturday this year, so the filing deadline rolls over to the next regular business day, which will be December 27 because December 26 is a Federal holiday.)

Why anyone would file on paper is far from clear – but if you do opt for the old school approach, be alert to the fact that you have to file an original and one copy with the FCC Secretary’s office in D.C. Also, each page should be marked, at the top, “CONFIDENTIAL – NOT FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION”.