FCC, FEMA Schedule Next Emergency Warning Test

Broadcasters and MVPDs need to mark their calendars forSept. 27. That is when the FCC and FEMA have scheduled the next test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

They will focus on testing FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) common alerting gateway.

All EAS participants—which includes TV and radio stations and cable and satellite operators—are required to participate in the nationwide test.

If something happens to makeSept. 27unworkable, the back-up test date isOct. 4. 

The FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has also released the latest edition of the EAS Operating Handbook (available here) and recommended participants bone up before the test.

The bureau also said it would welcome the public to monitor the test and provide feedback on any issues. 

The FCC pronounced its most recent (Sept. 28, 2016) test a success, per the standard that the vast majority of participants successfully received (94%) and transmitted (82%) the warning code and, in comparison to the 2011 test, there was "significant improvement."

In the room-for-improvement department, there were problems with poor audio and with disability access.

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.