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EAS Tests Planned for States Prior to National Test

The national test will be the first “presidential alert” to be broadcast across the United States.

The U.S. government is planning to test the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in several states prior to the nationwide test of the EAS, which is scheduled for Nov. 9, 2011 at 2 p.m. EST and will be the first “presidential alert” to be broadcast across the United States.

The national test will include a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) transmission of a “live” Emergency Action Notification (EAN) code to all EAS participants and notice to the general public that the EAS has been activated for a national emergency, along with an audible notice that “this is a test.” However, FEMA staff could not say which states would be involved with pre-tests of the EAS.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules allowing for national testing of the EAS, and has delegated authority to its Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) to determine, in consultation with FEMA and other EAS stakeholders, as appropriate, various operational procedures for implementing national tests of the EAS. Details provided by the FCC include:

  • The test will conclude with transmission of the End Of Message (EOM) code and will not use the Emergency Action Termination (EAT) code.
  • The location code for the EAS test will be the code for Washington, D.C.
  • The test will last approximately three minutes.

The PSHSB says use of the EOM code instead of the EAT code during the national test will not require EAS participants to reconfigure their EAS encoder/decoder devices in any way.

In addition, the PSHSB says most EAS encoder/decoder devices will automatically forward the EAN with the Washington location code and will not require further configuration by the EAS participant. However, participants who are unsure whether their devices will forward an EAN with the Washington location code are directed to contact the device’s manufacturer or FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Office.

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