The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) on August 7th, at 2:20 pm EDT. If conditions such as a real emergency or other unforeseen circumstances occur on the day of the test, a backup date is scheduled for August 21st. All EAS participants must complete their 2019 Form One on or before July 3rd.
In recent years, FEMA has distributed the nationwide EAS test through both the broadcast-based “daisy chain” as well as over the Internet using the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (“IPAWS”). This year, however, the Commission will be conducting the test using only the broadcast-based “daisy chain” (although participants are reminded that the FCC rules still require them to be able to receive alerts from IPAWS). Because the test will be disseminated this way, FEMA has indicated that full message text and multilingual messaging will not be available. The purpose of this change, according to FEMA, is “to determine the capability of the EAS to deliver messages to the public in the event that dissemination via the Internet is not available.”
The EAS Test Reporting System (“ETRS”) is currently open for the 2019 filing period. As in the last two years, EAS participants must renew their identifying information on a participant’s location, their EAS equipment and monitoring assignments, and contact information for EAS purposes. Each EAS participant must file a separate Form One for every EAS decoder, EAS encoder, or unit combining such decoder and encoder functions. Forms can be submitted on a station-by-station basis or on a batch filing basis for certain commonly-owned stations. Again, all Form Ones must be filed no later than July 3rd. On or before 11:59 pm EDT, August 7th, EAS participants also must file “day of test” information on Form Two; and on or before September 23rd, EAS participants must file detailed post-test data on Form Three. EAS participants are allowed 30 days after submission of all ETRS forms to review their filings and to correct errors.
The ETRS system can be accessed by the use of an FCC Username that is associated with your FCC registration number (FRN). For a review of how to get such a username if you don’t have one, check in on our previous post here.
If you have any questions about the ETRS system or the National EAS Test, please contact your attorney.