Last Wednesday, June 6, FEMA IPAWS held a special webinar event as a countdown to the EAS CAP integration deadline of June 30, 2012. A number of EAS and CAP experts presented during the webinar, hosted by FEMA’s Manny Centeno and Suzanne Goucher of NASBA and the Maine Association of Broadcasters. Given the interest in the upcoming deadline, we wanted to provide a recap of some of the topics touched on during this webinar.
The webinar’s first topic was a general update on IPAWS and provided insights into FEMA’s near-future plans for IPAWS, including:
- Encouraging more emergency managers to leverage IPAWS
- Working with partners to incrementally improve and enhance the EAS
- Improve PEP coverage by adding new PEP stations (to a total of 77 stations to provide 90% coverage of the U.S. population—see full slide deck for PEP station graphics)
- Continue to provide training and best practices to EAS participants
Next, Wade Witmer and Mark Lucero of FEMA IPAWS provided EAS CAP best practices, which provided a great deal of important information and guidance on topics like internet connectivity, monitor RWT, device best practices, and EAS CAP device contacts. They also provided a link to the EAS Best Practices Guide that is being updated with the latest information. You can find the EAS Best Practices Guide here and can learn more about the EAS CAP best practices updates by reviewing the slides here.
Tom Beers and Greg Cooke of the FCC provided attendees with insights into the recent changes to the FCC EAS Rules to accommodate the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). They discussed upgrades needed to State EAS plans, required CAP monitoring, the required display of the enhanced CAP text, the optional use of Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology, and preliminary outcomes from the analysis of the 2011 Nationwide EAS Test data. See the slide deck for more details.
A theme of education and outreach ran throughout the webinar and was fully captured in Whit Adamson’s presentation on developing local interest in the EAS, where he stressed the importance of never giving up on education, regardless of funding constraints and how large the challenge seems. He also stressed the importance of informing special audiences.
During the final comments, it was announced that the next EAS CAP webinar is being planned for July and that, at this time, there is no plan for the next national EAS test as efforts are being focused on tightening EAS and fixing identified issues prior to scheduling the next test.
AWARE will continue following this story as we approach the June 30 deadline, so stay tuned.