EAS 375

With the 2017 national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) just two months away, the Federal Communications Commission has released a public notice with more details for broadcasters and other EAS participants. The EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) is now open and accepting 2017 filings and the EAS Operating Handbook is now available to test participants.

The national test, to be held Wed., Sept. 27 at 2:20pm ET, will use the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which allows stations to receive test audio from the internet-based Common Alerting Protocol and then measures how well multilingual alerts are sent and received. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) alert will be transmitted in English and Spanish and include both audio and the text of the test message, which can be used to populate an accessible video crawl.

EAS Participants have until August 28 to complete the 2017 ETRS Form One with a separate form required for each participant’s EAS decoders, EAS encoders and units that combine both functions. By Sept. 27, EAS participants must submit any updates or corrections to their 2017 Form One filings and must file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two. Detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three is due by Nov. 13. Forms Two and Three will become available in the ETRS at the time the 2017 nationwide test starts.

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has also released a revised EAS Operating Handbook. The Bureau says the new handbook must be in place in time for this year’s test and be located at normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations when an operator is required to be on duty and available to staff responsible for administering EAS tests.

A 2017 national test had been expected since last month when the FCC began laying the groundwork. The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced that every station must create a username within the FCC’s Commission Registration System (CORES) to access the 2017 ETRS. The move is designed to integrate the ETRS—the online portal where broadcasters have submitted data on whether they received the national EAS activation and whether they were able to then pass it down the line—into the FCC’s other databases.

Read the FCC’s Public Notice HERE.