The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the FCC, announced this morning that the National Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) tests scheduled for this Thursday, September 20, have been postponed due to “ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.”
Instead, the tests will be conducted on the previously announced backup date of October 3. The Wireless Emergency Alerts test will commence at 2:18 p.m. EDT and the EAS test will commence at 2:20 p.m. EDT on that date. FEMA has indicated that the purpose of the tests is to “assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.”
As we previously discussed on CommLawCenter, in preparation for the national test, all EAS Participants were required to file their Form 1 with the FCC by August 27, 2018. They were then to file their Form 2 (day of test data) on September 20, 2018, with the final test report to be filed on Form 3 by November 5, 2018.
The Form 2 (and likely the Form 3) deadline will now shift to align with the new October 3 test date. As of the publication of this post, the FCC had not yet announced new filing deadlines, but the Form 2 will likely be due on October 3, 2018, and since the FCC’s Rules require that EAS Participants “are required to file detailed post-test data 45 days following a nationwide EAS test,” the Form 3 deadline will most likely move to November 19, 2018. Those are just predictions, however, and broadcasters and other EAS Participants should watch for a formal announcement from the FCC with the new filing deadlines.
[Editor’s Note: Subsequent to publication, the FCC did in fact release a Public Notice confirming the October 3 deadline for Form 2, and the November 19 deadline for Form 3.]