The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have postponed the upcoming nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) from September 20, 2018 until October 3, 2018, due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.
As previously announced, all broadcasters that participate in EAS are required to participate in this test. The EAS alert will be transmitted in English and Spanish and include both audio and the text of the test message, which can be used to generate an accessible video crawl. The EAS test should appear similar to nationwide tests in recent years to radio and television audiences. However, for the first time, FEMA will also send a test Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) message to all mobile phones that are connected to wireless providers that participate in the WEA system. The WEA message will be transmitted on October 3, 2018 at 2:18 p.m., immediately before FEMA transmits the test EAS message.
To help reduce public confusion regarding the WEA message, FEMA is producing several radio and television public service announcements (PSAs). Please check the NAB Spot Center as the test date approaches and consider airing the PSAs that will be available. For more information about the nationwide EAS/WEA test, please visit FEMA’s dedicated web page, which includes a link to Frequently Asked Questions and an email address for any remaining inquiries.
All broadcasters that will participate in the nationwide EAS test are reminded to register in the FCC’s EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). ETRS Form One must have been completed by August 27, 2018. ETRS Form Two (“day-of form”) must be filed immediately following the nationwide EAS test on October 3, 2018, and broadcasters must provide the post-test information indicated on ETRS Form Three by November 19, 2018. The FCC also encourages broadcasters to take additional steps prior to the nationwide test, including reviewing the EAS Operating Handbook for what actions to take when you receive the nationwide test message, and ensuring that your EAS equipment is capable of processing a live code test. Read the FCC’s public notice for further information.