The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the FCC will hold a Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test (EAS) on the afternoon of September 28, 2016 (primary date, the FCC and FEMA have reserved October 5, 2016 as a secondary date). The previous Nationwide EAS test was in November of 2011. Here are some of the key parameters of the test:
- FEMA will send the test at 2:20 pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.
- Test will be sent via IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System)
- The exact time your station receives the test may vary depending upon when you EAS device retrieves the test message from the IPAWS server or from your assigned monitor station.
- The test will use the NPT event code, the PEP originator code, and a location code of all zeros (000000). FCC rules require that all EAS device be capable of processing these codes by June 30 of this year.
- Message will be sent in both English and Spanish, that is: it will contain two InfoBlocks, one for English and one for Spanish each with references (links) to audio files for the messages.
- The entire test message will be about 53 seconds in duration.
- Approximately 60 days prior to September 28, the FCC will release a public notice announcing the Nationwide Test (this is required by FCC rules).
Here’s what you should do to make sure you station is ready for the test:
- Make sure your EAS device is installed and is in proper working order.
- Make sure you have the most recent software version installed in you EAS device and that it can process the NPT event code and all zero location code (check with the manufacturer if you need help with this)
- Ensure that your EAS device is properly communicating with the IPAWS server.
Finally, FCC rules (section 11.61) require that all EAS participants register with the FCC’s EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). All stations MUST register and complete Form One no later than August 26, 2016. A public notice was released by the FCC on June 27 containing instructions on how to register. It is strongly recommended that stations begin this process immediately. The ETRS web site is here. Stations can contact the FCC staff for assistance in completing Form One at ETRS@fcc.gov.