FCC Bolsters EAS and Greater Community Preparedness

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The FCC has announced the adoption of a report and order at its monthly Commission meeting that sets forth procedures for authorized state and local officials to conduct “live code” tests of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which use the same alert codes and processes as would be used in actual emergencies. According to the agency, these tests can increase the proficiency of local alerting officials while educating the public about how to respond to actual alerts. The procedures adopted by the Commission require appropriate coordination, planning, and disclaimers to accompany any such test. Additionally, the report and order is expected to permit authorized Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about the EAS to include the system’s simulated Header Code tones (i.e., the three audible tones that precede the Attention Signal) and the Attention Signal itself (i.e., the attention-grabbing two-tone audio signal that precedes the message alert), provided that the PSA includes an appropriate disclaimer. The FCC release will also include a further notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks comment on other specific measures to help stakeholders prevent and correct false alerts.

 

 

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