By: Paul A. Cicelski
As I mentioned last week, the FCC has been creating an online reporting system for EAS Participants to use to report their results in connection with the first ever nationwide EAS test, which is set to take place on November 9, 2011. In addition, the FCC has been preparing a new EAS Handbook that is designed to be used during the nationwide EAS test in place of the old Handbook. The FCC has now completed both tasks and issued a Public Notice today announcing the activation of the online reporting system and the release of the Handbook. The reporting system and the Handbook can be accessed on the FCC’s Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau’s EAS Nationwide Test Landing Page.
With respect to the reporting system, the FCC is asking that EAS Participants populate the database in advance of the test with items like station call letters, license identification numbers, geographic coordinates, EAS assignments (i.e., LP or NP status, etc.), EAS monitoring assignments, and the emergency contact representative of the EAS Participant. The FCC is also requesting that EAS Participants input immediate test results, (e.g., was the EAN received and was it passed on) on the day of the test. While the FCC is encouraging rapid online reporting of each Participant’s test results, it is mandatory that the information be submitted to the FCC within 45 days following the test (either online or on paper).
The FCC has created three separate forms which, together, request the following information:
- Form 1: Prior to November 9, please provide background information on your facilities and equipment.
- Form 2: On November 9, please provide information on whether you received the alert and whether you passed on the alert.
- Form 3: Between November 10 and December 24, please provide more detailed information on the success or failure of the test. (Please note that there is a conflict in dates between the FCC’s form page on the website which indicates that the deadline is December 24, while the FCC’s Public Notice indicates that the deadline is December 27).
According to the FCC, the new EAS Handbook “provides EAS Participants with instructions for participating in the first nationwide test of the EAS, scheduled for November 9, 2011, at 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. A copy of the Handbook must be located at normal duty positions or EAS equipment locations where an operator is required to be on duty and must immediately be made available to staff responsible for participating in the test.” Importantly, the FCC specifically notes that the “handbook will supersede all other EAS Handbooks only during the operation of the Nationwide EAS Test on November 9, 2011.”
Don’t forget that a great deal of additional useful information on the national test can be found at the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations’ EAS Alert website and at the National Association of Broadcasters’ EAS National Test website. Both will greatly assist EAS Participants in successfully completing the national test.