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  NEW: 2017 TEST & ETRS Procedures   EAS Handbook 2017

   
     

All stations need to double check - do you have the 2017 version of the EAS Handbook in the control room(s) and at other transmitter controp points?  Here's a related question: When you sign off the log and onto remote operation...that's right, there needs to be a book there, too.  If you can't find the 2017 version, it's here.

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FEMA  announced on July 14, 2017 that they are planning a test of the EAS system on September 27.  See here. This decision puts pressure on the FCC to complete its reorganization of the ETRS.  Be sure to stay on top of the issue in order to be in compliance with the rules.

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On June 26, 2017, the FCC issued a Public Notice  (PS Docket No. 15-94) with new procedures for future EAS reporting under the EAS Test Reporting System.  Basically, in order to report your results in  the 2017 system test, you will need to enter the CORES (Commission Registration System) and create an "FCC Username" for future tests and to complete Form 1 for the next and subsequent tests.

The actual Form 1 and test date(s) are yet to come.

In addition to registering a user name with CORES, you will be able to tie that user name to your FRN.

The notice, itself, is linked to above and here.  It is important that each station have the user name in place and the CORES registration completed before the next test.  As always, if we can be of help with registration, just call.  If you have any questions about the legal elements of this notice, please consult your communications attorney.

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September 28, 2016 was the followup national test.  If things went properly for you, the test was received, forwarded, and you've successfully filed all of the forms.  If not all of that happened, you probably need to do some checking below.  And please let us know if you need help with SAGE, DASDEC, or G/R  equipment.  So far, for those whose units actually had the test fed into them, any lack of response was because of a lack of updates to the firmware.  You can do it yourself by following manufacturers' instructions.  Of course, if the situation is simply that you haven't filled out the forms, welllll...

There's a new EAS Handbook.  The 2016 edition is now available.  As was the case in the past, this document needs to be at all control points (the transmitter, all remote control points) at all times.  It also needs to be included in the station public file.  You can get a copy here.

NB:  A number of folks have revised the handbook, cleaning up some errors and typos in the commission's version. The FCC, however, has very pointedly said that until they revise, use their version, warts and all.

One interesting question is what to do with the old edition.  If it's part of the public file, one would think that it needs to be retained.

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For all broadcasters, the Public Notice issued June 27, 2016 is very important.  The notice calls for stations and other participants in the EAS system to log on to FCC.gov and complete "Form 1" in preparation for future national tests.  The form must be complete and accurate.  It also must have been completed by August 26, 2016.  If not, you may want to talk to your communications attorneys about how to proceed.

After completion, you will be notified about next steps which will include completion of Forms Two and Three down the road.

In addition, the notice calls for input regarding the EAS Operating Handbook.  This is important reading so click the link above and download the Public Notice.

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The February 24 test of the EAS National code apparently went well.  All SFI-managed stations report initial success although one did not receive a duplicate alert from the LP2 station.

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Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:  The Commission has issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) today (January 29, 2016).  Should the rules be passed into regulation, there will be some changes.

A major "change" will be the need for states to correct their inefficiencies in their EAS plans.  For example, Illinois's plan is sorely outdated and needs to be updated from its 2006 issue.

The Internet will become much more important in EAS.

No editorial comment here except to say that the NPRM actually generates more questions than it answers.  Here it is.

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On June 1 the FCC adopted the Sixth Report and order regarding EAS.  The document includes references to the entire EAS system but, basicallyl only really addresses four areas.  These were included in the FCC NPRM issued on June 25, 2014 (see below).  It allows for a National Periodic Test (NPT) to assess interoperability and compliance.  This will involve the creation of a new event code to be identified by existing and future codecs.

In addition, a "universal" code of 000000 will be established to indicate "all of US" and video folks will have to comply with certain visual elements to ensure that warnings and tests are actually legible.  Finally, ETRS has been enabled which means tests will have to be filed electronically by participants.

Here's the language from the R&O on the four items:

"In this Sixth Report and Order, we strengthen the EAS by establishing specific operational standards for use during future tests and actual emergencies. In particular:

 We adopt “six zeroes” (000000) as the national location code pertaining to every state and county in the United States, and we require EAS Participants to use equipment capable of processing this location code;

 We require that EAS Participants’ equipment be capable of processing a National Periodic Test (NPT) event code for future nationwide EAS tests to bring consistency to the operation of EAS equipment in future national, regional, state and local activations;

 We require EAS Participants to file test data in an Electronic Test Report System (ETRS) that has been constructed to be a practical, accessible, and minimally burdensome tool for recording EAS dissemination data and developing an FCC Mapbook that can illustrate the manner in which an EAS alert is propagated throughout part or all of the United States; and

 We require EAS Participants to comply with minimum accessibility rules, in order to ensure that EAS visual messages are readable and accessible to all members of the public, including people with disabilities.

EAS Participants must comply with these rules within twelve months of their effective date, or as otherwise noted herein..."

The Report and Order can  be accessed here.

Prior:

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).  The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on June 25, 2014, addressing strengthening the EAS System.  These proposed rules are a followup to the 2011 national test which revealed a number of issues.  You can read it here and respond with comments if you desire.

The original Text-to-Speech provision of the FCC Report and Order, which was to be invalidated as of April 23, has been reinstated. Said another way, text-to-speech remains as a requirement under the new EAS rules. Here's the document. Your new EAS units should continue to be programmed for TTS operation.

Well, the deadline has come and gone and the fines are flying!   Did your equipment decode the CAP IPAWS tests?  SEE BELOW

Now is the time to finish evaluation and issue the purchase order. While the FCC may be somewhat forgiving if the excuse is reasonable (It's doubtful "we just ordered it" will fly) it will need to be installed. And what if there is an emergency and you're not prepared. In this litigious world, do you want someone realizing that they were listening to/watching your station and you didn't transmit a warning?

Again, Scope+Focus, Inc. provides technical consulting and field service and not legal advice.  If you have legal questions, please contact your communications attorney.
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The national test is done. It's reported that, STILL, many stations have not filed their summaries. Have you filled out the forms? You can do it online (see link below). Did your EAS unit trigger? Did it relay the alert? If so, great, finish the forms, making sure to follow up with form 3, and that's it. Put a copy of all filings in your logs and public file.

CAP/IPAWS tests ran daily the month of June. Have you checked your equipment for proper reception and logging?

THIS is the link to the FCC page which gives access to the forms. You may file form 1 electronically in advance of November 9 or the appropriate report can be printed out and completed by hand and mailed back after the test.

Here is the FCC's "Degrees/Minutes/Seconds-to-Decimal Degrees" Converter Applet

There is more information available at http://tinyurl.com/E-reportingNationalEAStest

There is a "EAS Best Practices Guide" available at http://tinyurl.com/EAS-Best-Prac-Guide

Interesting content from Radio World regarding vagaries in the FCC's test reporting requirements

Still more info on EAS and IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) is at
http://www.fema.gov/emergency/ipaws/eas_info.shtm

Here are some additional links for your further research and regarding the November 9 test.

From TV Technology on the latest extension

From TV Technology on the extension debate

FCC Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (6-19-11)

Radio World - Stations Pressure for Extension (08-04-11)


 
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