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FCC Announces EAS Summit Agenda

The FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has announced the agenda for its summit on the nation’s Emergency Alert System Monday, May 19, 9:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m., in the Commission Meeting Room.

The summit, “Promoting an Effective Emergency Alert System on the Road to a Next Generation EAS,” will focus on the current state of the nation’s EAS and what is needed to transition to a more robust, next-generation alert and warning system.

The summit will start with a welcome by Derek Poarch, PSHSB chief. Poarch came to the FCC from the University of North Carolina, where he oversaw the campus police force of 300. FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin is a former trustee of the school.

The first panel, at 9:40 a.m., will examine the current state of the nation’s EAS initiative. Discussions will focus on failure points within the system—breakdowns in the “daisy chain”—as well as ways to improve testing protocols and heighten awareness to the importance of education and training for broadcasters and other EAS participants.

It will be moderated by Tom Beers, chief of the Policy Division at the PSHSB. Panelists will be Ann Arnold, chair of the Texas State Emergency Communications Committee and executive director of the Texas Association of Broadcasters; Dale Gehman, president of Gehman Compliance and Consulting; Steve Johnson, a consultant with the National Cable and Telecommunications Association; Mark Manuelian, Primary Entry Point Advisory Committee director and chair of the Massachusetts SECC; and C. Patrick Roberts, chair of the Florida SECC and president of the Florida Broadcasters Association.

The second panel, at 11:15 a.m., will focus on Next Generation Technologies and explore what policies and protocols should be implemented to ensure compatibility between federal implementation of the Common Alert Protocol (CAP) architecture and state government operations. Panelists will also discuss funding issues and what states are expected to do to ensure that their state, county and local emergency response systems are fully functional in a new system design.

It will be moderated by PSHSB Chief Engineer William Lane. Panelsists will include Malena Barzalai, senior counsel for the Association of Public Television Stations; Art Botterell, manager of the Community Warning System at the Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Office; Lance Craver, program manager for the Integrated Public Alerting and Warning System at FEMA; Clay Freinwald, radio frequency systems engineer with Entercom and chair of the Washington SECC; Suzanne D. Goucher, chair of the Maine SECC and president of the Maine Association of Broadcasters; and Mark Paese, director of the Operations Division at the National Weather Service.

The summit is open to the public but with limited seating. Individuals may pre-register at by May 15.

The summit will be Webcast.