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Reminder: Nationwide EAS Test Wednesday Afternoon, Sept. 28

 - Midnight ET deadline to file report

The second nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 1:20 pm CT.

The test will start when FEMA sends the alert message, which will be in both English and Spanish.  

It will last less than a minute and then the race will be on for stations to file ETRS Form Two, the so-called “Day of Test Reporting."

The FCC has requested stations to stagger the filing of ETRS Form Two based on a station’s time zone. 

Joseph Cohen, an attorney with TAB’s FCC legal counsel Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, said the staggered filing times are not mandatory—but are meant to “maximize the resources available to process Form Two filing” according to the FCC.

The “suggested” Texas times to file are:

  • Facilities in Central Time Zone – 4-6 pm CDT
  • Facilities in Mountain Time Zone – 5-6 pm MDT

Stations unable to file during the suggested time periods must file ETRS Form Two no later than 10:59 pm CT Wednesday night, Sept. 28.

Attorney Gregg Skall with TAB Associate Member law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice recommends stations print a screen shot of the FCC acknowledgment of receipt of ETRS Form 2 when it is submitted on Wednesday.

Broadcasters concerned whether the FCC’s ETRS can handle the crush of participants using the system at the same time have been assured by the FCC that the agency has established sufficient additional capacity with an outsourced vendor.

Form Three, called “Detailed Test Reporting”, will be due by Nov. 14.

The FCC has requested that stations not file Form Three until the day after the Sept. 28 test. 

This exercise will also be the first test to feature an EAS alert using a new nationwide test event code, NPT, and a new nationwide geographic zone code, 000000. 

As of July 30, 2016, all EAS Participants were required to have equipment in place capable of receiving and passing these codes. 

Stations can find out more about ETRS and the national test at

Stations should have also downloaded the new EAS Operating Handbook created by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau in time for this week’s test.

This new edition of the Handbook should be kept with the station EAS log (both of which are FCC requirements).

And if there were any doubt about the requirement, the FCC made sure to remind you in the public notice about its release which says the revised Handbook must be “be located at normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations when an operator is required to be on duty and be immediately available to staff responsible for administering EAS tests.”

You can find the new revised Handbook here

The FCC is aware of versions of its EAS Operating Handbook that have been circulating with altered content beyond merely completing the intended fill-in-the-blank lines and checkboxes.

The commission reminds EAS participants that "the EAS Handbook is the EAS Handbook" and no adding or subtracting of FCC text is to be done in the handbook.

TAB has been advised that the FCC is working on another handbook upgrade, this time a more user-friendly version, such as writable PDF.

Questions? Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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