FEMA and the FCC announced that this year’s Nationwide EAS Test is scheduled for October 4, 2023 (with a back-up date of October 11 in case there is a real or threatened event that occurs around October 4). FEMA will transmit the nationwide test of the EAS at 2:20 pm EDT on October 4, 2023 using the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the Internet-delivered warning system that has been required for broadcasters for about a dozen years. The test will be disseminated in English and Spanish as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message using the Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System (NPT) code. FEMA issued a Release announcing the test. The FCC issued a much more extensive Public Notice which includes a list of recommended steps that broadcasters should take to prepare for the alert, and a reminder for broadcasters to be sure that their information in the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) is accurate and up-to-date.
While the steps recommended by the FCC to prepare for the test are all somewhat obvious, they should still be reviewed by broadcasters to make sure that they have not overlooked anything that can enhance their preparation for the test. Among the recommendations from the FCC are that the broadcaster review their role in their state’s EAS plan, and make sure that their equipment and software has been updated to the most current versions. The FCC also suggests making sure the EAS clock on station EAS equipment is synchronized with the official time used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology which is used by the IPAWS system. Having an accessible EAS Official Handbook and reviewing the handbook for instructions on the operation of the EAS system is also on the FCC’s list.