Emergency Alert System National Test

The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) took place on November 9, 2011 at 2 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). The test was conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The test started at approximately 2 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) and was originally scheduled to last approximately three minutes, but was subsequently shortened to 60 seconds, (including the alert tones before and after the audio test message). The FCC issued a Public Notice addressing this change.

The purpose of the test was to help government organizations and EAS participants (radio and TV broadcast stations, cable operators and satellite radio and TV) assess the reliability of the EAS system. It was not a "pass-fail" exercise. This first National EAS Test will serve as a benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of the EAS system, and for improvements in the EAS system going forward. FEMA and the FCC intend to conduct National EAS Tests on an annual basis (although not always on November 9).

All radio and television stations participated in the EAS Test.

Despite clarity problems with the EAS audio test message, the Nationwide EAS Test fulfilled its purpose to help government and EAS Participants identify areas in need of improvement. Among broadcasters, most radio and television stations’ EAS equipment worked as expected. NAB will continue to work with our federal partners to diagnose and improve the EAS system.

Reporting Requirements. FCC rules require that all EAS Participants report to the FCC on the results of their participation in the nationwide EAS test by December 27, 2011 (i.e., 45 days after the test), including whether, and from whom, they received the alert message and whether they rebroadcast it. FEMA and the FCC will study these results to assess any problems with the system and, if so, how best to remedy them. This information will remain confidential.

The FCC has created an online reporting system to ease compliance.

Please consult the FCC's Public Notice announcing the Reporting System for further information. This Public Notice also contains information on how to submit your test results data in paper form.

Reminder: The FCC has also reminded stations that they are prohibited from broadcasting the EAS tones or attention signal except during actual EAS activations, including EAS tests. Broadcasting the tones or signal during news stories or other programming at other times is a violation of the FCC’s rules, and could pose a public danger because rebroadcast of the tones could trigger a false alert from EAS equipment that picks up such a rebroadcast. Please see this FCC Public Notice for further information.

Additional Information

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