In cooperation with the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, and with the endorsement of the MAB Board of Directors, the National Weather Service will conduct a test with the Tornado Warning EAS Code at 1:30pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 as part of Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. The MAB received a waiver from the FCC to use the actual EAS Tornado Warning Code (“TOR”) for this statewide test.
This test will be in conjunction with a statewide tornado drill. In addition to the EAS activation, your area may experience a test of tornado sirens which may alarm some members of the public. Your assistance in informing the public before the test is requested.
The MAB Board of Directors encourages all broadcasters and cable operators to participate. Other states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois have conducted similar successful tests in the past few years. Though encouraged, participation in this test by broadcast stations and cable systems is voluntary. This test was also endorsed by the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC).
If there is a threat of actual severe weather on April 13, the test will be postponed until April 14, 2016. If there is a threat of severe weather on April 14, the test will be cancelled. The go/no-go decision will be made by 4pm the day prior by the National Weather Service, as well as the Statewide Tornado Drill Working group. MAB will post a go or no-go status on its homepage at http://www.michmab.com.
While the audio of this test will repeat several times in the script “This is a Test,” and with the EAS Tornado Code being used, the crawl on TV stations and cable stations will read “A Tornado Warning has been issued for…(and it will list your counties).” We ask that TV broadcasters and cable operators participating in the test to display a “This is a Test” graphic behind the crawl. Download the available graphics package.
The test will be originated on the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) and these tests will will cover all counties in Michigan and will originate from the NWS offices at Grand Rapids, Gaylord, Marquette, Detroit/Pontiac, and Northern Indiana. They will be relayed via the State Relay (SR) and Local Primary (LP) stations.
What to Expect in Your Market on April 13, 2016
As noted above, its more than likely that your area may experience a test of tornado sirens in addition to the activation of the EAS tornado alert. All businesses, organizations, families, and individuals are welcome to participate in the voluntary statewide preparedness activity. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will be involved.
How Broadcasters Can Help
This is an excellent opportunity for broadcasters to show the importance of radio and television in times of emergencies. We ask broadcasters to take an active role in their communities to alert listeners and viewers about not only the test alerts, but our role in providing vital information to the public in times of severe weather and other emergencies.
Local Emergency Management Coordinators have been encouraged to reach out to broadcasters in advance of the test.
***The MAB asks broadcasters to reach out to their local emergency management personnel regarding the activities in their own market. We ask you to cover it in your news, community affairs programs, popular personality shows and in your weather breaks.***
Please use Emergency Managers in newscast interviews and on your local morning shows and talk programming.
Not certain who to contact? The MAB has a list of statewide emergency management contacts available here.
A Statewide Tornado Drill Media Toolkit, including talking points, sample social media posts, and more. Download the kit here.
The MAB encourages you to begin on-air mentions and promotion of the tornado test no later than April 7 (one week from the test).
There are recorded radio PSAs for severe weather week available:
The State of Michigan has prepared graphics for use on your webpage and social media posts here.
The official website for the Statewide Tornado Alert: http://michigan.gov/miready
Michigan State Police contact:
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division
Phone: (517) 284-3962
Michigan Association of Broadcasters contact:
Phone: (517) 484-7444