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.