Category Archives: EAS and Amber Alerts

Statewide Tornado Drill: Wednesday, March 27

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared  March 24-30 to be Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week.  Broadcasters and Emergency Management partners statewide are encouraging Michiganders to conduct a statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. ET this Wednesday, March 27.  

Broadcaster participation will take place with an EAS Required Monthly Test at 1 p.m. on March 27.  As with all RMTs, the test will remind the public that in the event of a tornado, severe weather or other emergency, official information would have followed the EAS tones.

Broadcasters are encouraged to run the alert as soon as possible after 1pm, following the reception of the RMT.  They are also encouraged to promote the test and their role in relaying important information to the public when severe weather strikes.  This can be done on-air and through websites and social media.

On a voluntary basis, Emergency Managers may conduct a test of warning sirens and other drills.  Broadcasters are encouraged to contact their local emergency management personnel to get specific details on activities happening in their communities.

Additional resources, tips for listeners and viewers and graphics are available here.

Thank you for your commitment to being preparedness leaders in the state and in your communities.

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Kelley at the MAB: 517.484.7444 or [email protected].

Statewide Tornado Drill Set for 1 p.m. on March 27

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared the week of March 24-30 Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week.  Broadcasters and Emergency Management partners statewide are encouraging Michiganders to conduct a statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 27.

Broadcaster participation will take place with an EAS Required Monthly Test at 1 p.m. on March 27.  As with all RMTs, the test will remind the public that in the event of a tornado, severe weather or other emergency, official information would have followed the EAS tones.

Broadcasters are encouraged to run the alert as soon as possible following the reception of the RMT.  They are also encouraged to promote the test and their role in relaying important information to the public when severe weather strikes.  This can be done on-air and through websites and social media.

On a voluntary basis, Emergency Managers may conduct a test of warning sirens and other drills.  Broadcasters are encouraged to contact their local emergency management personnel to get specific details on activities happening in their communities.

Additional resources, tips for listeners and viewers and graphics are available here.

Thank you for your commitment to being preparedness leaders in the state and in your communities.

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Kelley at the MAB: 517.484.7444 or [email protected].

Sage Releases ENDEC Firmware Upgrade

RadioWorld reports that EAS equipment maker Sage Alerting Systems has announced a firmware upgrade for its ENDEC Model 3644.  The upgrade, #89-32, adds Blue Alert functionality. Blue Alerts are warnings about police that may be in trouble or are issuing a related emergency message. They are currently voluntary.

The company adds, “The release notes also address a check that you will need to perform if you have used the old “new event” option in the settings file.”

Sage has provided release notes here.

2019 Regional EAS RMT Schedules Posted

The MAB has posted the monthly RMT schedules for 2019 on its website The schedules indicate the date and time of the RMT in each region and who the originator of the test will be (usually a local primary station, though in some instances the test may be originated at the local emergency management level).

The test schedules can be found hereNote that on March 27, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern, a special RMT will be issued statewide with including special lanaguage for the Statewide Tornado Drill, part of Severe Weather Awareness week.

The MAB is still working with a few regions in updating test information for 2019.  Any questions? Call Dan at 517-484-7444 or email [email protected].

EAS Alerts On Repeat?

This past week, InsideRadio reported that Emergency Alert System warnings would become a lot harder to miss under a bill advancing in Congress. It would allow the government to put the alert on repeat while a threat remains pending.

This proposal, along with other EAS rule changes, came about following the erroneous missile alert in Hawaii earlier this year.  Under the proposed Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement Act or “READI Act” (S.3238), the Federal Communications Commission would be given six months after the bill’s passage to determine how to implement the EAS repeats.

The bill stated that it would apply to any messages that have been issued by the President or administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Other proposals in the READI Act include elimination of the option that currently allows the public to opt-out of receiving certain federal EAS messages on their mobile devices. It would also establish a reporting system for false alerts like the one that occurred in Hawaii earlier this year so that the FCC can track when they occur and examine their causes.

The NAB, in a statement supporting the proposal, said the support  any move that would improve the timeliness, accuracy and availability of emergency alerts when disaster strikes and that “Local radio and TV broadcasters play a vital role as ‘first informers’ in keeping communities safe, and we understand the importance of relevant and up-to-date information when lives are at risk.”

Read the complete InsideRadio article here.

FCC Keeps National EAS (NPT) Form 2 Reporting Open Until November 19

The FCC has notified state broadcast associations that it is keeping the filing window open for Form 2 until November 19.  Form 2 was required to be submitted  by midnight on the day of the test, October 3.  Greg Cooke, Deputy Chief, Policy & Licensing Division, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC said it was due to reports that many EAS participants had difficulty logging in.

On that same date, November 19, is the deadline for filing Form 3.

For more information, visit the FCC’s EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) website here.

FEMA’s National EAS/WEA Test ‘Successfully Originated and Disseminated’

As  most broadcasters are aware,  FEMA conducted another National EAS Test and added a second test to cellphones to test Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on October 3.

With regard to the EAS portion of the test, the MAB received just a few reports regarding re-transmission of the test, and, though still being investigated, it appears those might be related to equipment configuration issues at the station end.   Two callers to the MAB were having issues logging into the the FCC’s ERTS site to report the test results as required.

A poll of 1,894 US adults conducted by YouGov.com regarding the Wireless Emergency Alerts, showed that 72% of the population received the alert, 18% did not, 5% not sure and 5% did not have a cellphone.

FEMA’s statement following the test was as follows:

“The national EAS and WEA test messages were successfully originated and disseminated through FEMA’s IPAWS to the wireless provider gateways and EAS message servers. All wireless provider gateways acknowledged receipt of the test message. 

Additional results from EAS participant station reception and broadcast of the national test message will be collected over the next month and reported later and compared against previous test results.

FEMA is committed to continuously improving the national alert and warning systems and supporting local authorities in getting effective and timely warning to people.

Only WEA compatible cellphones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA will be capable of receiving the test message.

Additionally, if a user is on a call, or with an active data session open on their phone, they might not have received the message.”

Statewide RMT Cancelled for October 10; Stations Should Run Required Weekly Test

State EAS/SECC Chairman Gary Blievernicht has announced that the Statewide Required Monthly Test (RMT), scheduled for October 10 has been cancelled.  47 CFR 11.61(3)(ii) states, “A national test shall replace the required weekly and monthly tests for all EAS participants … in the week and month in which it occurs.

Stations, however, should run a Required Weekly Test (RWT) the week of October 8.

If you have any questions, contact Dan Kelley at the MAB.

Check IPAWS Certificate for Rescheduled National EAS Test

Stations are reminded that the previous IPAWS digital certificate expires September 24, 2018. To ensure a successful NPT test on the rescheduled date of October 3, you must install the updated CA file. Otherwise, CAP alert messages may not be authenticated after Sept. 24. This applies not only to the NPT, but all CAP messages using that required authentication certificate. Log on to your equipment vendor website to download the most recent certificate update.

As you are aware, due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence, FEMA rescheduled the National Test of the EAS system to Wednesday, October 3. It will be fed via IPAWS at 2:20 p.m. EDT. All broadcasters and cable systems are required to receive and relay this test. Once the test is completed EAS participants are required to submit Form 2 by 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 3 on the ETRS site:
https://www.fcc.gov/general/eas-test-reporting-system.

Participants should monitor this test to assure that it was received and relayed correctly and there were no problems with the quality of the audio. This information will be required on Form 2.

Nationwide EAS/WEA Test Rescheduled for October 3; New Reporting Dates

On Monday, FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), postponed the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) until October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.

The test was originally scheduled for September 20.

On October 3, the WEA (cellphone) portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS (broadcast) portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

October 3 was the previously scheduled back-up date for the test.  A backup date is always planned in case of widespread severe weather or other significant events on the primary test date.

For broadcasters, the test will be similar to a required monthly test, but will originate at FEMA facilities in Washington, D.C.

EAS equipment properly setup should pass on the test as required.

FEMA is offering broadcasters resources for this year’s test.  The national test website is at https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.  FEMA regularly updates the site as new content becomes available.

PSAs:  FEMA is also offering PSAs for broadcasters to run.  The 15, 30 and 60 seconds PSAs (video and audio) are available at FEMA’s media library: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/multimedia/collections/645.  FEMA has uploaded the MPEG versions to NAB’s website.

Broadcaster Reporting Requirements:  EAS Participants shall file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two at or before 11:59 PM EDT on October 3. EAS Participants shall file the more detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three on or before November 19.

Another reminder for news, programming and production personnel:  Broadcasters and cable providers are not to air the audio attention signal for WEA or the EAS during any news coverage of the test. Any transmission, including broadcast, of the WEA or EAS attention signals or codes, or a simulation of them, under any circumstances other than a genuine alert, authorized test, or approved public service announcement violates the Commission’s rules and undermines the important public safety precautions that WEA and EAS provide. See 47 CFR §§ 10.520(d), 11.45. While the Commission encourages improving public awareness of WEA and the EAS, including the upcoming nationwide test, broadcasters and cable providers are reminded to exercise caution and avoid inadvertently broadcasting the WEA or EAS tones in a news story.