Category Archives: EAS and Amber Alerts

AMBER Alert Criteria Changing January 1; New Advisory for Endangered Missing Persons

amber_300Via Michigan State Police
Contact: Ms. Lori Dougovito, MSP Public Affairs, 517-284-3223

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is changing the criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert in Michigan, the emergency response system that disseminates information about a missing child.

Effective, January 1, 2017, AMBER Alerts will only be issued for cases of child abductions, involving victims under the age of 18, but all AMBER Alerts will receive a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA). A vehicle license plate number is no longer required for a WEA.

Previously, in addition to abducted children, AMBER Alerts were authorized for missing children with severe mental or physical disabilities who wandered away and were unable to care for themselves.

“Any time a child goes missing, it’s an urgent situation and we should all pay attention; however, in the case of child abductions the urgency is even greater,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “By tightening the standards for issuing an AMBER Alert we will ensure these alerts are utilized in only the most dire of circumstances to get credible, useful information out to the public in order to bring abducted children home safely.”

Missing child cases that don’t meet the revised AMBER Alert criteria will be eligible for a new notification called an Endangered Missing Advisory, for which there is no age restriction. The Endangered Missing Advisory is a notice sent to broadcast and print media in the geographic area of the incident, but unlike an AMBER Alert, this advisory does not utilize the Emergency Alert System to interrupt broadcasting and it will not be sent to mobile devices as a WEA.

Michigan’s AMBER Alert is a partnership among the MSP, Michigan Association of Broadcasters, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Sheriff’s Association and Michigan Department of Transportation.

AMBER Alerts have helped police safely recover 262 missing Michigan children. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/AmberAlert.

Reminder: National EAS Test Form Three Report Due November 14

eas-logo_300On September 28, broadcasters in Michigan and nationwide conducted the first national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in five years and the first-ever usage of the IPAWS infrastructure.

Reminder on the reporting requirements:  Stations were required to go online and file ETRS Form Two by midnight on September 28.

ETRS Form Three, which asks for more detailed information regarding the test, is due on or before November 14, 2016.

For information on how to navigate to the proper forms within ETRS, see the article in our last newsletter here.

National EAS Test Successful; Don’t Forget Reporting

eas-logo_300On September 28, broadcasters in Michigan and nationwide conducted the first national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in five years and the first-ever using the IPAWS infrastructure.  Initial feedback showed the test was generally successful.  The MAB received only two informal reports of a stations having difficulties and those were confined to the retransmission end of the test.  Nationally, some areas reported difficulties; most of which appeared to be confined to configuration of station equipment.  In a post-test conference call with nationwide SECC (State Emergency Communications Committee) chairs, FEMA (The Federal Emergency Management Agency) received accolades for the audio quality of the test.

Reminder on the reporting requirements:  Stations were required to go online and file ETRS Form Two by midnight on September 28.

ETRS Form Three, which asks for more detailed information regarding the test is due on or before November 14, 2016.

For information on how to navigate to the proper forms within ETRS, see the article in our last newsletter here.

National EAS Test Wednesday – Reporting Information Preview

A national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time this Wednesday, September 28, 2016.  A secondary test date is October 5, 2016, “if necessary.”

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 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.

Form Two will be available online immediately after the test concludes.

The following information was presented at the NAB Radio Show on September 21, 2016:

To get to ETRS Form Two, stations should go to the ETRS home page and login.  Once logged in, click on the records tab at the top of the page: 

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On the next screen, click on EAS Test Records:

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On the next screen, click on the EAS Test Record corresponding to the September 28 test:

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On the next screen,  click on Submit Form 2 at the top of the screen:

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Form Two just has two questions: 

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That’s it.  Repeat again for all facilities you have registered with ERTS.

2) ETRS Form Three must be filed on or before November 14, 2016.

Use the same procedure as above, but navigate to Form Three instead of Form Two.

Form Three has three pages asking for more detailed information.  Most importantly if you received the EAS message, from what source, and from which source you first received the EAS message:

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More information requested on the second page regarding the first message:

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Finally, on page three, some questions regarding quality and/or difficulties.

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Repeat as necessary for all facilities registered with ETRS.

The FCC is available to answer your questions regarding this reporting.  Contact Austin Randazzo at the FCC: (202) 418-1462 or via email: Austin.Randazzo@fcc.gov or ETRS@fcc.gov.

Visit: https://www.fcc.gov/ general/eas-test-reporting-system/

EAS National Test Next Week!

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.

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.