FCC, FEMA Issue Report On National EAS Test
April 15, 2013 at 4:35 AM (PT)
The FCC and FEMA have released a report on the 2011 national EAS test, "Strengthening the Emergency Alert System: Lessons Learned from the Nationwide EAS Test," concluding, "The test demonstrated that the national EAS distribution architecture is basically sound" but pointing to several problems that arose in the test.
The problems cited by the report included "Widespread poor audio quality nationwide; Lack of a Primary Entry Point (PEP) in the area to provide a direct connection to FEMA; Use of alternatives to PEP-based EAN distribution; The inability of some EAS Participants either to receive or retransmit the EAN; Short test length; andAnomalies in EAS equipment programming and operation."
The FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau added its recommendations, including a rulemaking proceeding to look at equipment performance issues; a Public Notice encouraging states to review and update their EAS plans; a rulemaking on changes to EAS plan rules; and working with FEMA to develop and issue best practices and other educational materials for EAS. On future nationwide EAS testing, the Bureau recommended a rulemaking proceeding to address any operational issues left open in previous EAS orders, including a possible nationwide location code for national EAS activations and use of the National Periodic Test code or other test code to allow FEMA and the FCC to conduct "less disruptive nationwide tests," a new Nationwide EAS Test Reporting System database, and encouraging the Executive Office of the President to reconvene the Federal EAS Test Working Group.