Our AWARE friends at the Broadcast Warning Working Group have obtained a copy of a letter sent to FEMA’s Craig Fugate from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) asking for a postponement of the National EAS Test set to occur one week from today on November 9 at 2:00PM ET.
Although the audio message of the National EAS Test will say it is a test, the visual text will make it appear as a real alert. Under the current EAS, the on-screen text of this alert cannot be altered so the only fix is to display a “This is a Test” graphic behind the EAS text. While most TV stations are staffed and thus should have the ability to insert this graphic at test time, cable TV systems are largely not normally staffed and NCTA is concerned that many cable systems will run the National EAS Test with no visual indication that it is a test. NCTA has thus requested that FEMA postpone the National EAS Test until cable systems can implement fixes for this issue being developed by cable industry EAS equipment manufacturers. There has yet been no response from FEMA or FCC. Read a copy of the letter sent by NCTA to FEMA in the BWWG story: http://eas.radiolists.net/letter-to-craig-fugate-at-fema-from-ncta-requesting-live-code-test-postponement/
Another recent development regarding EAS Participants and the National EAS Test has come to light. While some State Emergency Communications Committees (SECCs) took the FCC statement “the national test shall replace the RMT” to mean that states should cancel their regularly-scheduled EAS Required Monthly Test (RMT), not all SECCs took this interpretation. Some SECCs considered cancelling the RMT to be an optional step, and thus are running a November RMT. The State of Illinois for instance did run their RMT on November 1st. Not a gigantic deal, but apparently some states will be running a November RMT and some will not. If you are unsure whether you should be receiving and logging a November RMT from your state, contact your State EAS Chair found on this list on the FCC Website: www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/state-eas-plans-and-chairs