FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the FCC have scheduled a special National EAS Test on October 4, 2023, at 2:20 EDT. The test will be fed via IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) at 2:20 PM Eastern. Stations should confirm that their EAS system is operating correctly to ensure proper reception and retransmission of the National Test. The FCC’s ETRS Form One is due September 15th.
Engineers Larry Wilkins and John George conducted a webinar last week to go over the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form One (changes due September 15th) and how to ensure EAS equipment is configured correctly to receive the National Periodic Test (NPT). The webinar included representatives from Digital Alert System and Sage Alerting Systems. Gorman-Relich was also in the meeting to answer any questions about setting up the systems correctly.
The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) issued a Public Notice to remind Emergency Alert System (EAS) participants of their obligation to ensure that EAS alerts are accessible to people with disabilities. TV stations must make sure it's visually accessible to everyone. The EAS text must be displayed as follows:
At the top of the television screen or where it will not interfere with other visual messages (e.g., closed captioning).
In a manner (i.e., font size, color, contrast, location, and speed) that is easily readable and understandable (see the following guidelines).
No overlapping lines or extending beyond the viewable display (except for video crawls that intentionally scroll on and off the screen), and in full at least once during any EAS message.
The text should scroll at a speed that allows viewers to read the crawl as if they were going to read it aloud.
The background and text colors should sufficiently contrast to allow for readability. For example, a bright green background with white text may not provide sufficient contrast. Green and red should also be avoided as viewers who are color-blind have difficulty seeing these colors.
In addition, the audio portion of an EAS message must be played in full at least once to ensure it is accessible to viewers who are blind or have low vision. It should be spoken at a pace that allows a listener to understand the content. The Public Notice also reminded EAS Participants that they must file ETRS Form Two after the nationwide EAS test no later than October 5, 2023. They must also file ETRS Form Three by November 20, 2023.
You can see the archived webinar here.
You can see the FCC’s Public Notice here.
You can access the FCC’s ETRS Reporting System here.