Emergency Alert System Test Set for Sept. 28

FEMA and the FCC are reminding broadcast and cable operators that a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place Wednesday (Sept. 28) at 2:20 ET. This is only a test.

EAS participants will need to file a report after the test.

The public will be receiving both audio and onscreen test messages in both English and Spanish. The test will not include Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs).

The backup date for the test of the alerts, which are most often associated with severe weather, is Oct. 5 in case (irony alert) severe weather or some other "significant" event causes it to be cancelled.

September is National Preparedness Month.

The FCC is conducting the test in coordination with FEMA, with a focus on FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) that disseminates the alerts to the various participants.

IPAWS delivers alerts to multiple platforms (TV, radio, cellphones, computers, home phones and electronic billboards). IPAWS allows emergency authorities to write their own messages, authenticates them and delivers them to the various platforms.

Participants had to register for the test by Aug. 26 and were advised to get ready by, among other things, upgrading their EAS software and firmware and synchronize their clocks.

The FCC also wants the viewing and listening public to weigh in with any problems they observe.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.