FCC Adds New EAS Warning Codes for Extreme Wind and Storm Surges

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The FCC has released an order that, among other things, updates the Commission’s rules so that Americans can now receive more specific warnings through the Emergency Alert System (EAS).  Specifically, the new rules add three new three-letter “events codes” that can be used to warn the public about impending storm activity.  About 90 percent of EAS activations are generated by the National Weather Service and concern weather events.  Based on stakeholder input, the FCC has created “Extreme Wind Warning (EWW),” “Storm Surge Watch (SSA),” and “Storm Surge Warning (SSW)” so that communities can receive more specific and relevant alerts during hurricanes and other severe weather.   Presently, there are five mandatory event codes, including Emergency Action Notification (EAN), National Information Center (NIC), National Periodic Test (NPT), Required Monthly Test (RMT) and Required Weekly Test (RWT).  Additionally, there are over three dozen state and local event codes, which categorize natural and man-made events ranging from Avalanche Warnings (AVW) and Tornado Warnings (TOR) to Child Abduction Emergencies (CAE) and Nuclear Power Plant Warnings (NUW).  The updated rules require EAS equipment manufacturers to integrate the new codes into new equipment and will also enable EAS participants to update their existing equipment within six months of the rules’ formal adoption.

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