First-Ever National Test of Emergency Alert System Approved

A long-available system that allows the U.S. President to take over the airwaves and address the nation in an emergency is going to be tested for the first time sometime this year. The Federal Communications Commission approved an order this week to conduct the first national test of the Emergency Alert System.

All TV and radio providers in the EAS chain will be required to participate. “They must have the equipment necessary to receive and transmit a live Emergency Action Notification code relaying a presidential message to viewers and listeners,” according to the article in TelevisionBroadcast.com.

The stations will be required to submit test-related data to the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau within 45 days of the exercise. When a localized test of the EAN was conducted in Alaska last year, “several anomalies were revealed, including dead equipment and communications failures,” the article says.

The FCC’s action provides a two-month public notification period before the test, including a public education and awareness campaign with television and radio advertising to explain the purpose of the testing.

To read the full article, click here:
http://www.televisionbroadcast.com/article/113264

To read the FCC report, click here:http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db0203/FCC-11-12A1.pdf