FEMA, FCC to Test Nationwide Emergency Alert System

FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will conduct the first nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) Test on Nov. 9, at 2:00 p.m. EST. FEMA, the FCC, and NOAA’s vision for improving the EAS includes first testing the readiness and effectiveness of the EAS as it currently exists today, and then testing continually to identify necessary improvements so that the system can better serve U.S. communities by delivering critical emergency information.

“EAS participants provide a critical public service to the nation as the resilient backbone of alert and warning when all other means of communication are unavailable,” according to the FEMA Website. “EAS participants include all broadcasters, satellite and digital radio and television, cable television and wireline video providers who ensure the system is at a constant state of readiness.”

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) has compiled experiential lessons learned and best practices from 2010 and 2011 Alaska EAS Tests, as well as through the EAS rebuilding effort and tsunami live-code test in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Laboratory research is also being conducted at IPAWS.

“The alert and warning landscape is in an important state of transition — from the current system of radio, television, cable, satellite, and wireline broadcast media-based alerting to a future system that integrates new technologies for a more universal access to alert and warning messages,” according to the Website. “Future testing of the EAS will assess the effectiveness and reliability of other technologies to achieve the ultimate goal of timely alert and warning to American public in the preservation of life and property.”

For more information about the upcoming EAS test, visit: http://www.fema.gov/emergency/ipaws/eas_info.shtm