Alaska Prepares for First Test of Presidential Alert
January 5, 2010
FORT RICHARDSON, ALASKA: The broadcast
Emergency Alert system test scheduled to take place tomorrow across the State
of Alaska is ready to be conducted. The Alaska Broadcasters’ Association, in
conjunction with the State of Alaska, the FCC and the Federal Emergency
Management System, will conduct the statewide exercise at 10 a.m. local time.
TV and radio stations and cable systems across Alaska will participate in the
test intended to help the feds evaluate the system. The State started telling
residents of Alaska about the impending tests Dec. 21.
“This test will be similar to live code testing conducted each year for the
Tsunami Warning System and the Amber Alert System,” the Alaska Division of
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Web site stated. “Unlike
Alaska’s Tsunami and Amber Alert tests, this event will exercise the EAN--Emergency Action
The EAN is specifically reserved for presidential emergency messages and has
never been officially tested. Alaska was selected for the test because of its
geographic isolation from the contiguous United States and its successful Amber
Alerts and tsunami tests.
“Several broadcasters have asked if there is any technical adjustment of the
EAS equipment needed before the exercise,” the state agency said. “We are being
told no. The other common question is, ‘What happens if my equipment does not
forward the EAN?’ This is part of what the exercise is all about. The mission
is to determine problems, if any, with the technical architecture or hardware
The FCC pledged not to take enforcement action against any participating
broadcaster that affects a violation of EAS rules. The test will last between
two and three minutes, longer than the typical EAS test.
(Image by Wally Gobetz)