How will the national EAS test be conducted?
The national EAS test will be conducted jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS), the three federal agencies that have EAS management responsibilities. FEMA is the arm of the DHS primarily responsible for developing national alert and warning functions. The FCC is an independent agency that grants licenses to or otherwise oversees EAS Participants. FCC rules regulate the transmission of EAS alerts. The NWS is a key player in the dissemination of local warnings via the EAS. The great majority of EAS alerts are NWS weather-related alerts.

On November 9, at 2 p.m. EST, FEMA will transmit the EAS code for national level emergencies to Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations in the national level of the EAS. The PEP stations will then rebroadcast the alert to the general public in their broadcast vicinity, as well as to the next level of EAS Participants monitoring them. This should continue through all levels of the system, until the national alert has been distributed throughout the entire country.

Pursuant to the FCC’s rules, all EAS Participants must report back to the FCC on the results of this 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 determine if there are problems with the system and, if so, how best to remedy them. We anticipate that a national test will be conducted periodically to ensure that the EAS is, and remains, functional.

FEMA and the FCC have already twice tested the EAS national code on a more limited basis, in the state of Alaska. The lessons learned from the Alaska tests will inform how the agencies conduct the national test.

Show All Answers

1. How does the EAS work?
2. When is the EAS used? When would a national EAS alert be sent?
3. Why do we need a nationwide test of the EAS?
4. How will the national EAS test be conducted?
5. What will people hear and see during the test?
6. How long will the test last?
7. What is the source of FEMA’s and the FCC’s authority for conducting the national EAS test?
8. Are broadcasters and other EAS Participants ready for the test? What if their equipment does not function properly?
9. Where does media communications-based alerting fit within the development of next generation alerting systems like PLAN and the availability of social networking sites as tools for emergency alerting?