Category Archives: EAS and Amber Alerts

Are You Ready? EAS National Test September 28

eas-logo_300The next national test of the Emergency Alert System is  scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  (A secondary test date is October 5, 2016, “if necessary”). EAS participants must be prepared to take part in a test on both the primary and alternate test dates. All EAS participants are required to participate in this nationwide test.  This test will use the National Periodic Test (NPT) code, the location code for “All of United States.” FIPS number: 000000; and will be issued via FEMA Open IPAWS.

The results of the nationwide EAS test will be captured and analyzed using the new EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).  The FCC encourages EAS Participants to take steps to prepare for the test.   The public notice is available here.

Important National Test Reporting Deadlines

1) EAS participants shall file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  This is the same day as the national test.

2) EAS participants shall file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three on or before November 14, 2016.

The FCC’s ETRS page is here.  The Broadcasters Desktop Reference website has a resource for broadcasters “Meet the ETRS.”  Visit that site here.)

All EAS participants were required to register with ETRS and complete the filing on ETRS Form One on or before August 26, 2016.

In addition, the FCC has released an updated EAS Handbook available for download to print locally here.  A copy of the Handbook must 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.  Please note that the new EAS Handbook requires licensees to “fill-in” information on various pages throughout the handbook and that stations should review the Handbook before placing it in a normal duty position.

There is also a Microsoft Word version of the EAS Handbook available here that may aid some stations in customizing the handbook for their operations.

EAS National Test Date: September 28, 2016

eas-logo_300The next national test of the Emergency Alert System is  scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016. (A secondary test date is October 5, 2016, “if necessary”). EAS Participants must be prepared to take part in a test on both the primary and alternate test dates. All EAS Participants are required to participate in this nationwide test.  This test will use the National Periodic Test (NPT) code, the location code for “All of United States.” FIPS number: 000000; and will be issued via FEMA Open IPAWS.

The results of the nationwide EAS test will be captured and analyzed using the new EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).  The FCC encourages EAS Participants to take steps to prepare for the test.   The public notice is available here.

Important National Test Reporting Deadlines

1) EAS Participants shall file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  This is the same day as the national test.

2) EAS Participants shall file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three on or before November 14, 2016.

The FCC’s ETRS page is here.  The Broadcasters Desktop Reference website has a resource for broadcasters “Meet the ETRS.”  Visit that site here.)

All EAS Participants were required to register with ETRS and complete the filing on ETRS Form One on or before August 26, 2016.

In addition, the FCC has released an updated EAS Handbook available for download to print locally here.  A copy of the Handbook must 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.  Please note that the new EAS Handbook requires licensees to “fill-in” information on various pages throughout the handbook and that stations should review the Handbook before placing it in a normal duty position.

There is also a Microsoft Word version of the EAS Handbook available here that may aid some stations in customizing the handbook for their operations.

EAS Form One Deadline this Friday. New EAS Handbook Released.

eas-logo_300Broadcasters are reminded that this Friday (8/26) is the deadline for filling out “Form One” in the FCC EAS Test Reporting System (“ETRS”).  This new system will allow broadcasters to electronically report on the success of the next EAS National Test, scheduled for September 28, 2016.

The FCC Public Notice announcing the new filing requirement is available here. More information about the form and a link to the Registration Page for the form are available on the FCC’s website, here.

Please refer to this most recent article from the MAB regarding Form One and other upcoming EAS deadlines.

Broadcasters are encouraged to complete this form at their earliest convenience as time is short.  MAB Washington attorney David Oxenford says that while the FCC has given stations until September 26 to edit their initial filings, they must get something on file by this Friday. Time is short, and completing the form (especially if you have multiple stations) may take some effort.

In addition, the FCC has released an updated EAS Handbook available for download to print locally here.  A copy of the Handbook must 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.  Please note that the new EAS Handbook requires licensees to “fill-in” information on various pages throughout the handbook and that stations should review the Handbook before placing it in a normal duty position.

There is also a Microsoft Word version of the EAS Handbook available here that may aid some stations in customizing the handbook for their operations.

Important: EAS National Test, Registration & Reporting Deadlines

eas-logo_300The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a public notice outlining the upcoming nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), as well as mandatory registration and reporting deadlines for each EAS Participant.

The national test is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  (A secondary test date is October 5, 2016, “if neccessary”).  EAS Participants must be prepared to take part in a test on both the primary and alternate test dates.  All EAS Participants are required to participate in this nationwide test.

This test will use the National Periodic Test (NPT) code, the location code for “All of United States.” FIPS number: 000000; and will be issued via FEMA Open IPAWS.

The results of the nationwide EAS test will be captured and analyzed using the new EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).

Important Dates

1) All EAS Participants are reminded that they are required to register with ETRS and must complete the filing of ETRS Form One on or before August 26, 2016.

2) EAS Participants shall file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  This is the same day as the national test.

3) EAS Participants shall file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three on or before November 14, 2016.

The FCC’s ETRS page is here.  (added 8/16/16:  The Broadcasters Desktop Reference website has a resource for broadcasters “Meet the ETRS.”  Visit that site here.)

The FCC public notice also encourages EAS Participants to take steps to prepare for the test.   The public notice is available here.

July 30 Deadline For EAS Equipment Upgrade + SAGE Upgrade Available

eas-logo_300A new set of EAS Rules and Guidelines adopted by the Federal Communications Commission will become effective on July 30, 2016, mandating the following: 

1). All EAS Participants must have an operational EAS Decoder that recognizes the new FCC EAS location ‘FIPS’ Code for “All of United States” #000000.

2). All EAS Participants must have an operational EAS Decoder that recognizes and acts immediately to ‘relay‐to‐air’ an EAS Activation coded with the EAS Event Code; ‘NPT’ (National Periodic Test) that is received with a valid ‘FIPS’ Code.

Sage Users: Firmware Update Notice

Sage Alerting Systems has released a mandatory firmware update for its Sage Digital ENDEC model 3644. This update will enable users to comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s Sixth Report and Order on the Emergency Alerting System, involving the national location code and NPT event processing. You must install the update to continue to receive IPAWS messages. Compliance with Part 11 rules requires implementation by July 30.

http://www.radioworld.com/article/sage-users-note-this-firmware-update/279302

 

SIDEBAR via MAB ABIP Inspector R. Dale Gehman:

Unfortunately, many of the original 1996 vintage EAS Decoders/Encoders must now be replaced as they cannot be upgraded to accomplish both the modified response to receipt of an ‘NPT’ Event Code, nor can they be upgraded to recognize the new ‘000000’ FIPS National Location Code.

An example of vintage EAS Gear that cannot be upgraded includes, but not limited to; TFT’s EAS911, the Gray SAGE ENDEC and most of the 1996 era EAS boxes.

Most Stations previously upgraded to current vintage EAS Gear that polls FEMA’s IPAWS-CAP Server via the Internet, in compliance with the FCC Rules. Licensees should insure that current vintage EAS Gear has the latest software and firmware updates prior to July 30, 2016!

Stations that continue to operate with vintage EAS Gear that has not been upgraded successfully to recognize the National FIPS Code ‘000000’ and upgraded with a modified response to the EAS Event Code ‘NPT’ – will be in violation of the Rules on August 1, 2016, a violation that subjects the Licensee to a significant monetary assessment and notice of violation upon inspection.

FCC Adds New Warning Codes to EAS

eas-logo_300The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) updated its rules to add more specific warnings through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) before extreme weather strikes. The amended rules add three new “event codes” that can be used to warn the public about the storm surges and extreme winds that may accompany hurricanes and other severe weather events.

The three added codes signify an (1) “Extreme Wind Warning,” (2) “Storm Surge Watch,” and (3) “Storm Surge Warning.” The updated rules require EAS equipment manufacturers to integrate the codes into new equipment and will also enable EAS participants to update their existing equipment in advance of 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

Further information about EAS is available here.

EAS National Test, Registration and Reporting Deadlines Announced

eas-logo_300The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a public notice outlining the upcoming nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), as well as mandatory registration and reporting deadlines for each EAS Participant.

The national test is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  (A secondary test date is October 5, 2016, “if neccessary”).  EAS Participants must be prepared to take part in a test on both the primary and alternate test dates.  All EAS Participants are required to participate in this nationwide test.

This test will use the National Periodic Test (NPT) code, the location code for “All of United States.” FIPS number: 000000; and will be issued via FEMA Open IPAWS.

The results of the nationwide EAS test will be captured and analyzed using the new EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).

Important Dates

1) All EAS Participants are reminded that they are required to register with ETRS and must complete the filing of ETRS Form One on or before August 26, 2016.

2) EAS Participants shall file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 28, 2016.  This is the same day as the national test.

3) EAS Participants shall file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three on or before November 14, 2016.

The FCC’s ETRS page is here.

The FCC public notice also encourages EAS Participants to take steps to prepare for the test.   The public notice is available here.

July 30 EAS Deadline Looms

eas-logo_300A new set of EAS Rules and Guidelines adopted by the Federal Communications Commission will become effective on July 30, 2016, mandating the following: 

1). All EAS Participants must have an operational EAS Decoder that recognizes the new FCC EAS location ‘FIPS’ Code for “All of United States” #000000.

2). All EAS Participants must have an operational EAS Decoder that recognizes and acts immediately to ‘relay‐to‐air’ an EAS Activation coded with the EAS Event Code; ‘NPT’ (National Periodic Test) that is received with a valid ‘FIPS’ Code.

3). As of June 27, the EAS Test Reporting System is operational and ready to accept filings, according to a release.

EAS participants must complete Form One of ETRS on or before Aug. 26. Corrections or updates must be submitted by Sept. 26. (Forms Two and Three will become available on ETRS at the time of initiation of the September 28, 2016 nationwide test – see below.)

To register for ETRS and access Form One, visit the ETRS page and register. You will then be emailed ETRS account credentials and a link to the login page, which you should click on and then log into. You will then go to the ETRS homepage, which has detailed instructions on how to access Form One. Filers may contact FCC staff for assistance in completing Form One at ETRS@fcc.gov.

4). With ‘ETRS’ operational, Stations must log in and report all EAS Activations to the FCC’s Server using the log‐in account registered for each Station.

5). FEMA has scheduled a National EAS Test for Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016 at 2:20 PM EDT. The National EAS Test will originate using the new EAS FIPS Code 000000 and using the EAS Event Code ‘NPT’ (National Periodic Test).

SIDEBAR via MAB ABIP Inspector R. Dale Gehman:

Unfortunately, many of the original 1996 vintage EAS Decoders/Encoders must now be replaced as they cannot be upgraded to accomplish both the modified response to receipt of an ‘NPT’ Event Code, nor can they be upgraded to recognize the new ‘000000’ FIPS National Location Code.

An example of vintage EAS Gear that cannot be upgraded includes, but not limited to; TFT’s EAS911, the Gray SAGE ENDEC and most of the 1996 era EAS boxes.

Most Stations previously upgraded to current vintage EAS Gear that polls FEMA’s IPAWS-CAP Server via the Internet, in compliance with the FCC Rules. Licensees should insure that current vintage EAS Gear has the latest software and firmware updates prior to July 30, 2016!

Stations that continue to operate with vintage EAS Gear that has not been upgraded successfully to recognize the National FIPS Code ‘000000’ and upgraded with a modified response to the EAS Event Code ‘NPT’ – will be in violation of the Rules on August 1, 2016, a violation that subjects the Licensee to a significant monetary assessment and notice of violation upon inspection.

EAS Comments Filed By State Broadcast Associations

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters, along with other broadcaster associations representing 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, recently filed Joint Comments in the FCC’s rulemaking proceeding regarding proposed changes to the Emergency Alert System. We pointed out how state broadcasters associations played an important role in the effort to pass a federal statute authorizing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), and how broadcasters and State Emergency Communications Committees (SECCs) are committed and critical stakeholders in our nation’s emergency alerting network. A broad theme of our comments was the need for EAS issues to be addressed at the state and local levels where possible, giving SECCs and EAS participants the necessary discretion to make decisions that work for their respective communities. Some of the specific points included in the comments were:

  1. The state broadcaster associations objected to proposals claiming to enhance the security of the EAS network, but which would in fact impose unreasonable burdens on broadcasters, such as requiring broadcasters to notify the FCC of security breaches (e.g., the unauthorized triggering of an alert) within 15-30 minutes. We pointed out that imposing such burdens could have a chilling effect on full participation by broadcasters in EAS.
  2. The state broadcaster associations urged the FCC to adopt rules requiring cable systems to implement “selective override” for TV broadcast stations, which would prevent cable set-top boxes from automatically tuning all channels during an EAS alert to a cable channel providing only generic information about the emergency situation. Without a selective override requirement, TV stations which provide up to the minute news and weather reports during emergency and severe weather situations will continue to be subject to having their signals automatically blocked by cable operators at the very time when detailed emergency or weather information is most needed.
  3. The state broadcaster associations supported the idea of allowing broadcasters, at their discretion, to perform live code EAS testing without the need for FCC waivers, to use EAS tones in PSAs, and to use WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) tones in news reports designed to inform the public about WEA, (subject to safeguards) to assure that such codes do not trigger alerts downstream.
  4. The state broadcaster associations questioned a proposal to bring social media and other non-broadcast/cable platforms into the EAS network, arguing that those platforms, in many cases are still evolving, and are of uncertain reliability and utility as sources for distributing alerts.
  5. The state broadcaster associations cautioned the FCC against adopting any “one-size-fits-all” template for State EAS Plans which would impair the flexibility of SECCs to tailor plans to their own respective states’ needs, or which would impose unreasonable burdens on the SECCs that would have to rewrite their plans to fit such a template. We also cautioned the FCC generally about adopting proposals which would increase the burdens on SECCs, as they are typically volunteer organizations with limited resources.

Download the FCC filing here.

Urgent EAS Notice: New Equipment Requirements

eas-logo_300MAB ABIP inspector R. Dale Gehman has issued the following advisory.  Please review your EAS equipment immediately to assess your situation.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact the MAB at (800) 968-7622.

CLIENT MEMO:
R. Dale Gehman – GC&C – June 20, 2016

A new set of EAS Rules and Guidelines adopted by the Federal Communications Commission become effective on July 30, 2016, mandating the following:

1). All EAS Participants must have an operational EAS Decoder that recognizes the new FCC EAS ‘FIPS’ Code #000000 (National Location Code).

2). All EAS Participants must have an operational EAS Decoder that recognizes and acts immediately to ‘relay‐to‐air’ an EAS Activation received coded with the EAS Event Code; ‘NPT’ (National Periodic Test) that is received with a valid ‘FIPS’ Code.

3). All EAS Participants must register with the FCC’s new ‘EAS Test Reporting System’ (ETRS) once the ‘ETRS’ server is operational. The FCC will release a Public Notice announcing the launch of ‘ETRS’ and that upcoming notice will specify a WEB‐URL link that Stations must use to complete their ‘ETRS’ registration.

4). Once item ‘3’ above occurs; Licensees will have sixty (60) days to establish an account and enter each Station’s data into the FCC’s ‘ETRS’. Once ‘ETRS’ is operational, Stations must log in and report all EAS Activations to the FCC’s Server using the log‐in account registered for each Station.

5). FEMA has scheduled a National EAS Test for Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016 at 2:20 PM EDT. The National EAS Test will originate using the new EAS FIPS Code 000000 (New National Location Code) and using the modified EAS Event Code ‘NPT’ (National Periodic Test).

SIDEBAR:

Unfortunately, many of the original 1996 vintage EAS Decoders/Encoders must now be replaced as they cannot be upgraded to accomplish both the modified response to receipt of an ‘NPT’ Event Code nor can they be upgraded to recognize the new ‘000000’ FIPS National Location Code.

An example of vintage EAS Gear that cannot be upgraded includes, but not limited to; TFT’s EAS911, the Gray SAGE ENDEC and most of the 1996 era EAS boxes.

Most Stations previously upgraded to current vintage EAS Gear that polls FEMA’s IPAWS-CAP Server via the Internet, in compliance with the FCC Rules. Licensees should insure that current vintage EAS Gear has the latest software and firmware updates prior to July 30, 2016!

Stations that continue to operate with vintage EAS Gear that has not been upgraded successfully to recognize the National FIPS Code ‘000000’ and upgraded with a modified response to the EAS Event Code ‘NPT’ – will be in violation of the Rules on August 1, 2016, a violation that subjects the Licensee to a significant monetary assessment and notice of violation upon inspection.