FCC releases handbook for nationwide EAS test, reminds participants of obligation

The FCC Oct. 26 released a notice reminding broadcasters and other EAS participants of their obligation to participate in the first nationwide EAS test on Nov. 9, 2011, at 2 p.m. (EST).

The agency also released a Nationwide EAS Test Handbook that provides EAS participants with operational instructions for the test.

According to the notice, the nationwide EAS test is being conducted to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a way to alert the public of national emergencies.

It is intended to allow the FCC and FEMA to determine how well the nationwide EAS works and to make improvements if necessary.

All EAS participants must participate in the nationwide test and must submit test result data to the FCC no later than Dec. 27, 2011, which is 45 days following the test. Paper or electronically filed test results will be accepted.

The commission also is activating the Nationwide EAS Test Reporting System, a voluntary Web-based reporting system that will collect information from EAS participants on the results of the test for those who choose to report electronically.
The Nationwide EAS Test Reporting System is available at http://fcc.gov/nationwideeastest.

The newly released FCC Handbook provides:

background on the EAS;
technical information on the nationwide EAS test;
information about technical resources available to support participation in the test;
step-by-step nationwide EAS test activation procedures;
a summary of the nationwide EAS test result reporting requirements.

EAS participants must locate a copy of the handbook at normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations when an operator is required to be on duty. The handbook also must be available to staff responsible for administering the nationwide EAS test.

According to the notice, the new handbook supersedes all other EAS handbooks for the duration of the Nov. 9 nationwide EAS test.

The FCC also said it has made public service announcements in both English and Spanish regarding the nationwide EAS test available on its website.