FCC Update on Nov 2011 National EAS Test

August 23, 2011

Washington - Aug 23, 2011 - On Feb. 2, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission amended its Part 11 rules to provide for national testing of the EAS and the collection of data from such tests. The first nationwide test of the EAS will occur on Nov. 9, 2011 at 2 p.m. EST. The test will include transmission by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of a live Emergency Action Notification (EAN) code to all EAS participants and notice to the general public that the EAS has been activated for a national emergency, along with an audible notice that "this is a test." The Commission and FEMA, in conjunction with broadcasters and cable providers, are engaged in outreach efforts aimed at informing the general public that the Nov. 9 test will be just that: a test.

The FCC issued a public notice to clarify some details of the upcoming test.

  • The test will conclude with transmission of the End Of Message (EOM) code. The test will not use the Emergency Action Termination (EAT) code. The FCC's understanding is that use of the EOM code instead of the EAT code during the national test will not require EAS participants to reconfigure their EAS encoder/decoder devices in any way.

  • The location code for the EAS test will be the code for Washington, DC. The FCC's understanding is that most EAS encoder/decoder devices will automatically forward the EAN with the Washington, DC, location code and will not require further configuration by EAS participants. If you are unsure whether your device will forward an EAN with the Washington, DC, location code, the FCC suggests contacting the device's manufacturer or FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Office at IPAWS@dhs.gov.

  • The test will last approximately three minutes.

  • While the Commission does not plan to conduct pre-tests in advance of the Nov. 9, 2011, nationwide test, FEMA is presently working with selected states, EAS Participants and equipment manufacturers to conduct statewide tests of EAS equipment and procedures in those states in advance of the nationwide test. Such tests will serve the same purpose as the pre-tests discussed in the third report and order. Any questions regarding this matter should be directed to either FEMA's IPAWS office or to each state's EAS authority. To find your state's EAS contact, refer to your state's EAS plan at transition.fcc.gov/pshs/services/eas/chairs.html.

    DA 11-1444
    EB Docket No. 04-296

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