FCC seeks comment on EAS rule changes

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concerning the Emergency Alert System (EAS) last week. It is seeking comments on how EAS can be improved to be a more effective mechanism for warning the American public of an emergency.

The priority action by the FCC stems in part from recommendations of the Media Security and Reliability Council (an FCC advisory committee), and the Partnership for Public Warning. The commission has already begun — and said it will continue throughout this proceeding — to coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security and its component, FEMA, the Department of Commerce and its component, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service.

From CONELRAD, established in 1951 by President Truman, to its replacement, the Emergency Broadcast System, established in 1963 by President Kennedy, to the current Emergency Alert System (EAS), the federal government has sought to employ licensed media outlets as a mechanism for warning the public of an emergency.

The FCC rulemaking process could take about six months if placed on the fast track.

For more information visit www.fcc.gov.

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