FCC Issues EAS Handbooks

The FCC rolled out its updated EAS handbook, which now includes guidance for digital broadcasting and other platforms.

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has released the 2007 Emergency Alert System Handbooks. The guide includes updates for analog and digital TV and radio stations, and new directives for satellite digital radio, DBS and cable providers.

The handbooks provide instructions and sample scripts for national, state and local EAS activations and for appropriate testing procedures. FCC rules require that the handbooks are available at “normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations when an operator is required to be on duty and be immediately available to staff responsible for authenticating messages and initiating actions.”

The EAS is a public warning system that requires communications providers to make their systems available to the president in the event of a national emergency. No president has ever activated a nationwide alert, but the system is used frequently by local authorities for weather warnings and Amber Alerts.

The 2007 EAS Handbooks are available at www.fcc.gov/pshs/eas/Welcome.html. More information can be obtained from Bonnie Gay, at 202-418-1228.