National EAS Test Is Done, Now What?

Now that the nation-wide test of the Emergency Alert System is over, what’s next?

  1. You should have already filled out FCC ETRS Form 2 (day of) by 11:59PM 8/7/19.
  2. If you haven’t done so already, please fill out VT Emergency Management’s survey so they can understand how the test went. If you did not receive an email from Brett Larose at VEM asking you to fill out this survey and you feel you should have, email to be added to VEM’s EAS listserve, which is currently being updated as a joint project between VAB and VEM.
  3. FCC ETRS Form 3 needs to be completed by 9/23/19.

If you use a Sage ENDEC, there are two updates needed; one is a free software update required by August 12th, the other is a firmware update that is not free.

Free Software Update:

You MUST apply the FREE UPDATE (89-34) by August 12th to be compliant with an FCC rule change regarding logistics of time frame validity of an alert.   Easy, free, you’ve done these before.

Not Free Firmware Update:

The short read is, in order to continue receiving CAP-based events, you need to update your 3644’s at a cost of $349 per box.   Some requested/needed updates will be part of this major release but the bottom line is, we all need it to remain compliant with/receive CAP messaging.    FEMA has not released a ‘go’ date for when they will begin using this new standard for IPAWS server access.   Their security certificate is expiring in November and this may coincide with the change.   Sage plans their major version release in September, so as to be proactively ahead of FEMA’s standards change.  DHS typically doesn’t release new certificates until 30 days out from expiration, which would roll into October.

Monroe/DASDEC and Trilithic users are accustom to paying for updates.    For Sage users, it’s been 11 years.    Please read Sage Alerting Systems’ official message regarding your Sage Digital ENDEC model 3644:

“Sage has released firmware version 89-34. This free update addresses a changed requirement in the FCC EAS rules, Part 11.33(a)(10), which affects how the valid time frame of an alert is determined. This rule change takes effect on August 12, 2019. The ENDEC currently employs a slightly different method of determining the valid time frame. The update will have no adverse effect on the reception and relay of valid alerts. All users must install this update.

See for details on this update.

Sage also plans a major version release in September. As is typical with data security, old methods are discarded in favor of new, more secure methods. FEMA will be making a change to the method used to connect to its IPAWS server, disabling an older method in favor of the new standard. Our September release will support that change. After the FEMA switchover, older versions of the ENDEC software will not be able to receive CAP messages from IPAWS. In addition, the September release will focus on features our users have asked for, including the ability to preferentially send the CAP version of EAS messages for most alerts, role-based logins, enhanced automation interfaces (IP and GPIO), day parts, activity logging, emailed summary logs, and more. This release will be mandatory.

While Sage has made updates available at no charge since the original 2008 release of the Model 3644 ENDEC, there will be a one-time charge of $349 for the September release. The release will only be sold through our distributors. This update will be provided free of charge for ENDECs purchased new after March 1, 2018 (eighteen months prior to September 2019). We’ll send out an email when that release is available.

If you have any questions regarding these updates, please email or call 914-872-4069 and press 1 for support. If you get voice mail, please leave a message and we will return your call.  

Finally, a reminder that you can verify that your ENDEC is configured to carry FEMA’s  August 7th National Alert by using the “Verify Req” button at the bottom of the tools page in the ENDEC’s web interface. Click it and the ENDEC will show the filter names that match the EAN and NPT codes, and an indication that your settings are, or are not, compliant. If you don’t have a “Verify Req” button, or you don’t see the “Your ENDEC will meet the FCC requirements” messages for EAN and NPT, then you are running a pre-2016 release. Check our above web page, or contact support if you need assistance in updating.”


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