FCC releases details of procedures for nationwide EAS test

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Aug. 23 released details of the procedures to be used Nov. 9 during the first-ever national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The public notice includes specifics about the test regarding four areas: the termination of the test, the location code, the test’s duration and possible pre-testing of EAS equipment.

According to the bureau, the test will conclude with transmission of the End Of Message (EOM) code. The test will not use the Emergency Action Termination (EAT) code. Use of the EOM code, rather than the EAT code, during the national test should not require participants to reconfigure their EAS encoder/decoder in any way, the bureau said.

Regarding the location code for the national test, the code will be for Washington, D.C. According to the bureau, most EAS encoder/decoder devices will automatically forward the Emergency Action Notification (EAN) with the Washington, D.C., location code and will not require participants to make configuration changes. The bureau recommended that participants who are unsure about whether their device will forward the EAN with the Washington, D.C., location code, contact the maker of their device or FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Office.

Regarding duration, the bureau said the test will last about three minutes. Additionally, the bureau said the commission does not plan to conduct pre-tests before the nationwide test. However, FEMA is at work in some states with EAS participants and equipment makers to hold statewide drills of EAS equipment and procedures, the bureau noted.