While details remain sketchy, Sept. 28 has been slated for the second national test of the Emergency Alert System by FEMA. Broadcasters and other EAS participants should begin preparing because the FCC’s new electronic EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) will be in place for the first time, enabling the commission to automatically assess the success of the test and identify shortcomings.
The EAS’ primary purpose is to enable the President to simultaneously notify communities throughout the United States of nationwide emergencies. Though established in 1963, the system’s effectiveness had never been tested until 2011. A few problems were identified then and the new test will determine the degree to which they have been corrected or others have developed.
The time of the test and other key details have not been finalized, nor has the ETRS been completed, but broadcasters should note now that ETRS will require participants to set up their own ETRS accounts with unique usernames and passwords. More information to come.