The FCC earlier last week posted on its Blog an article from the Chief of its Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau about state EAS plans, stressing how important these plans are to making sure that any emergency message conveyed through an EAS alert is properly transmitted to all who are supposed to receive it, so that it ultimately reaches the members of the public who should be aware of the emergency situation which triggered the alert. The article contains a link to all of the state EAS plans that have been submitted to and approved by the FCC. The FCC urges that state EAS managers regularly review and send updates to these plans to the FCC at least yearly and urges stations to review the plans to make sure that they comply with their state requirements by monitoring the stations or other sources that they are supposed to monitor to get the emergency information which they relay to the public. As broadcast employees and stations change ownership and call letters change over time, it is important that stations review their state plan and alert their state EAS committee of any needed changes. Only with an updated and accurate plan can the FCC be assured that word gets out to the right people in the event of an emergency. A link to the state plans available is available here on the FCC website.
The need to review these plans is particularly important given the upcoming EAS test. As we wrote here, a Nationwide EAS test is scheduled for August 7. All broadcast stations have an obligation to report to the FCC on their ability to receive and retransmit the nationwide test. Last week was the due date for the updating of ETRS Form One which makes sure that information about EAS participating stations is accurate. Once the test is conducted, stations need to report on the day of the test, using ETRS Form Two, whether they received and broadcast the alert message. Flaws in EAS operations and incorrect monitoring of assigned stations could become evident at that time. So this is a good time to check your monitoring assignments and the state of your EAS equipment to make sure that, when the test is conducted, your station will be able to report that it received the alert as expected and, more importantly, in the event that there is a real emergency, your station will be in a position to relay important emergency information.