WASHINGTON: The first official nationwide test of the broadcast Emergency Alert System is two weeks away. The related online reporting forms have just becoming available, and the first is due before the test, set to take place Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. EST. All TV and radio stations, plus participating cable systems, are being asked by the Federal Communications Commission to fill out the forms.
The first--again, due before Nov. 9--simply solicits basic participant information:
~ Legal name
~ FCC registration number
~ Whether the entity is a broadcaster or a cable operator
~ Latitude and longitude of the transmitter or headend
~ EAS designation (National Primary, State Primary, State Relay and so forth)
~ Station monitored for EAS
~ Alternate station monitored
~ EAS equipment manufacturer
~ Model/Software version
~ Contact information
This first online form is available here: http://apps.fcc.gov/easnt/form1.cfm
The second form, not yet available, will be due on Nov. 9, will ask participants whether or not they received the alert and were able to pass it on. The third and final form, due between Nov. 10 and Dec. 24, will seek more details on the event. Both will be available on the FCC’s EAS National Test website.
The commission has also posted its EAS Handbook for the test. (See “EAS Handbook Must Be at Duty Stations for Nov. 9 Nationwide Test.”)
~ Deborah D. McAdams
June 15, 2011:“First National EAS Test Scheduled for November”
A national alert enables the president to break into regular broadcasts and address the American public during emergencies. One has never been issued in the history of the system, established in 1951 by then President Harry Truman during the Cold War. It was then known as CONELRAD and included the capability to jam aircraft homing devices. It was replaced in the 1960s by the Emergency Broadcast System, which in turn was supplanted with the current Emergency Alert System in 1997.
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