UPDATE: Due to the ongoing emergency response efforts resulting from Hurricane Florence, the FCC, in coordination with FEMA, has postponed the Nationwide EAS Test until October 3, 2018. The Nationwide EAS Test, which was originally scheduled for September 20th, will now originate at 2:20 p.m. EDT on October 3, 2018. ETRS Form Two must now be filed at or before 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 3, 2018, and ETRS Form Three must be filed on or before November 19, 2018. Please contact DWT with any questions regarding the October 3 nationwide EAS test and associated requirements.
Over the past few years the FCC, operating in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), has conducted nationwide Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) tests. As you may recall, the FCC last conducted a nationwide EAS test in September 2017. The FCC recently announced that it will conduct another nationwide EAS test on September 20, 2018. The details of this test will be very similar to years past, but EAS Participants, which include cable TV systems as well as TV, radio and LPTV stations, should take note of the updated filing deadlines and requirements associated with this year’s test.
Requirements for EAS Participants
First, EAS Participants must file EAS Test Reporting System (“ETRS”) Form One by August 27, 2018. If an EAS Participant participated in the nationwide EAS test last year, or the year before, it should have already registered with ETRS and completed Form One, which requires identifying and background information. EAS Participants now need to renew their identifying information in Form One, and file an additional Form One for any new facilities. A separate copy of Form One is needed for each EAS decoder, EAS encoder, and any unit that combines decoder and encoder functions.
After the nationwide EAS test is conducted on September 20, 2018, all EAS Participants must complete ETRS Form Two and ETRS Form Three. Form Two is considered the “day of test reporting” form and must be submitted within 24 hours of the nationwide EAS test. Form Three is considered the “detailed test reporting” form and must be submitted to the FCC on or before November 5, 2018. Form Three requires EAS Participants to provide detailed information regarding receipt and retransmission of the EAS message.
The FCC’s Public Notice stresses that EAS Participants must maintain a copy of the current EAS Operating Handbook at their normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations and be made immediately available to operators. Additionally, the FCC recommends that EAS Participants ensure that their EAS equipment and software is upgraded to the most recent version that can receive and process the national periodic test code, the “six zeroes” national location code, and otherwise operate in compliance with FCC rules. EAS Participants should review the Public Notice for additional suggestions.
We strongly advise EAS Participants to complete Form One as soon as possible to insure any issues are resolved prior to the August 27 mandatory filing date. We also encourage EAS Participants to inspect all EAS-related equipment to confirm that the equipment is operating properly prior to the September 20 nationwide EAS test.
Please contact DWT with any questions regarding the September 20 nationwide EAS test and associated requirements.