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FEMA, FCC prepping for new national EAS test

 - Extension sought for new FCC rules on EAS

While some details remain sketchy, Sept. 28 has been slated for the second national test of the Emergency Alert System by FEMA. Broadcasters and other EAS participants should begin ensuring they’re prepared because the FCC’s new electronic EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) will be in place for the first time, enabling the commission to automatically assess the success of the test and identify shortcomings.

The EAS’ primary purpose is to enable the President to simultaneously notify communities throughout the United States of nationwide emergencies. Though established in 1963, the system’s effectiveness had never been tested until 2011. A few problems were identified then and the new test will determine the degree to which they have been corrected or others have developed.

The time of the test and other key details have not been finalized, nor has the ETRS been completed, but broadcasters should note now that ETRS will require participants to set up their own ETRS accounts with unique usernames and passwords.

TAB will alert stations as additional information is released, but in the meantime station managers and engineers should take the time to read this outstanding overview published by Harry Cole with TAB Associate Member law firm Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth.

Extension sought on EAS rulemaking proceeding

TAB has asked the FCC to extend from May 9 to June 23 the deadline for filing comments on its proposed rulemaking proceeding for revamping its rules for EAS and wireless emergency alerts.

The request, made in conjunction with the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations, noted the Commission’s questions involve substantial changes in the development and content of state EAS plans, changes in the frequency of live code testing, the continued usefulness of local area EAS plans, and the use of social media platforms for alerting purposes.

Similar requests have been filed by Monroe Electronics and the Broadcast Warning Working Group.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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