The FCC released an Enforcement Advisory on Emergency Alert System rules last week and advised EAS participants to take steps now to ensure full compliance. The 2020 National EAS Test was waived due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, clients should be prepared for a 2021 test later this year when they’ll be required to report if the EAS test was successful or not.
Here are highlights of the recommended steps to take now to be sure you can receive and transmit EAS messages:
- Secure EAS equipment through up-to-date security patches, changed passwords, and use of firewalls;
- Be sure EAS equipment clocks are synchronized to official time;
- Know your EAS designation and state EAS plan, and conduct required weekly and monthly tests;
- Follow up with monitored sources if an EAS message is not received to determine the cause of failure;
- Monitor multiple sources and ensure redundancy; and
- Be prepared to file all of the required forms in the EAS Test Reporting System when the FCC announces the date of the 2021 National EAS Test.
In addition, video providers are reminded that EAS must be accessible for those who are hearing or vision impaired. Text for those who are hearing impaired must be readable and easy to understand, at the top of the TV screen, or where it will not interfere with other text (such as closed captioning). It must be fully viewable without overlapping lines and shown in full at least once during the EAS message. For those who are visually impaired, the audio message must be played at least once in full.