Nationwide EAS/WEA Test Next Thursday (9/20); Don’t Forget the Reporting

A reminder to broadcasters that this coming Thursday, September 20 at 2:20 p.m. Eastern, FEMA and the FCC will be conducting another nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.  This year’s test will also include testing of WEA, the Wireless Emergency Alert System – so in addition to conducting a broadcast Emergency Alert System text, you’ll likely also receive one on your smartphone.

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:  Remember that broadcasters need to complete the filing of ETRS [EAS Test Reporting System] Form Two after the test and before midnight the same day, September 20. Then Form Three is the “detailed post-test data” that must be filed by November 5.

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.

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