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FEMA and FCC Plan US Nationwide Emergency Alert Test for Oct. 4, 2023


David H. Lipman

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FEMA and FCC Plan Nationwide Emergency Alert Test for Oct. 4, 2023

  • Full Title:
    FEMA and FCC Plan Nationwide Emergency Alert Test for Oct. 4, 2023
  • Document Type:
    News Release
  • Bureau(s):
    Public Safety and Homeland Security
    Media Relations
  • Description
    Test Messages Will be Sent to All TVs, Radios and Cell Phones

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Federal Communications Commission	DA 23-653


DA 23-653
Released:  August 3, 2023

PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES
NATIONWIDE TESTS OF THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM (EAS) AND 
WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS (WEA) ON OCTOBER 4, 2023 


PS Docket Nos. 15-91, 15-94

	Today, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) provides notice to all Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants, EAS Participants are those entities that are required to comply with the Commission’s EAS rules, including analog radio and television stations, wired and wireless cable television systems, digital broadcast systems, digital television broadcast stations, Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service, digital cable and digital audio broadcasting systems, and wireline video systems.  47 CFR §§ 11.2(b), 11.11(a).
 Participating Commercial Mobile Service (CMS) Providers, Participating CMS Providers are commercial mobile service providers that have elected voluntarily to transmit WEA alert messages.  See 47 CFR §§ 10.10(d), (f).
 and the public that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the FCC, will conduct nationwide tests of the EAS and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on October 4, 2023. This Public Notice satisfies the requirement that the Commission provide notice to EAS Participants at least two months prior to the conduct of a national test.  See 47 CFR § 11.61(a)(3)(iii).
  If conditions on that date require the rescheduling of the tests, they will be conducted on October 11, 2023. See Letter from Ward Hagood, Engineering Manager, Testing and Evaluation, IPAWS Program Office, National Continuity Programs, Department of Homeland Security – FEMA, to Marlene H. Dortch, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (Aug. 2, 2023) (on file in PS Docket No. 15-91 et al.) https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/1080115722424/1. 
   
I. Nationwide EAS and WEA Tests
FEMA will initiate the test of WEA at 2:18 pm EDT on October 4, 2023, using the National Alert classification of Alert Message. See 47 CFR § 10.400(a).  Wireless Emergency Alerts; Amendments to Part 11 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding the Emergency Alert System, PS Docket Nos. 15-91 and 15-94, Order, DA 23-654 (PSHSB Aug. 3, 2023).
  The test will be sent to the entire United States and its territories.  Members of the public with mobile device service from a CMS provider that participates in WEA in their areas will receive the test message, See 47 CFR §§ 10.10(k), (l).  
 which will read “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”  The WEA alert will be transmitted in both English and Spanish in both 90 and 360 character sets. See FCC, WEA Enhancements FAQs for Authorized Alert Originators, https://www.fcc.gov/wireless-emergency-alert-enhancements-faqs-authorized-alert-originators (last visited Aug. 3, 2023).
  All wireless providers that have elected to participate in WEA are required to participate in this nationwide test. Participating CMS Providers are required to receive and transmit any WEA messages using the National Alert classification.  See 47 CFR § 10.400.  National Alerts must always be presented, regardless of subscriber opt-out selections.  See 47 CFR § 10.500(f).  
  
FEMA will transmit the nationwide test of the EAS at 2:20 pm EDT on October 4, 2023 using the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).  The test will be disseminated in English and Spanish as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message using the Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System (NPT) code.  The EAS test will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The test message audio and text, which is designed to be identical to the greatest extent possible, is as follows:  “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”  
The Bureau encourages EAS Participants to take steps, in coordination with their State Emergency Communications Committees, in preparation for this test, such as:
· Ensuring that a copy of the EAS Operating Handbook is located at normal duty positions, or EAS equipment locations, and is otherwise immediately available to operators; See 47 CFR § 11.15.  A writeable PDF version of the EAS Operating Handbook can be found on the Bureau’s web site at https://www.fcc.gov/general/eas-test-reporting-system.

· Reviewing the EAS Operating Handbook for the actions to be taken by operators upon receipt of the test alert, and tailoring any actions as necessary that are specific to the EAS Participants’ facilities;
· Reviewing their State EAS Plan for monitoring assignments and ensuring that EAS equipment is accurately configured to monitor those sources; See 47 CFR § 11.52(d)(1) (with respect to EAS messages that are formatted in accordance with the EAS Protocol, EAS Participants must monitor two EAS sources).

· Upgrading EAS equipment software and firmware to the most recent version; An EAS Participant’s failure to receive or transmit an EAS message during a national test or actual emergency because of an equipment failure may subject the EAS Participant to enforcement action.  See Enforcement Bureau Reminds Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants of Compliance Obligations, FCC Enforcement Advisory, 36 FCC Rcd 44 (EB 2021) (EAS Enforcement Advisory).
 and
· Manually synchronizing EAS equipment clocks to the official time provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology National Institute of Standards and Technology, The Official NIST US Time, http://www.time.gov.
 if an EAS Participant’s equipment does not automatically synchronize to an Internet time source.
Members of the public and interested stakeholder organizations that are in a position to observe test results in their communities can provide useful feedback on the nationwide test, including any problems observed or any complications in the delivery of the EAS message during the nationwide test or any feedback concerning the receipt of or failure to receive the WEA test alert by reporting their observations to the Public Safety Support Center at https://www.fcc.gov/general/public-safety-support-center.
A. EAS Test Reporting System Filing Deadlines
All EAS Participants are required to participate in the nationwide EAS test and make required filings in the Commission’s EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). See 47 CFR § 11.61(a)(3)(i); EAS Enforcement Advisory.  
  EAS Participants were required to make their 2023 ETRS Form One filings on or before February 28, 2023. Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Opens the EAS Test Reporting System for Filings, PS Docket No. 15-94, Public Notice, DA 23-1 (PSHSB Jan. 3, 2023).
  
· Any EAS Participant that must update ETRS Form One to ensure its accuracy (including changes resulting from transfers of control, updates to EAS equipment or software, or as required by any revision of its State EAS Plan filed pursuant to 47 CFR § 11.21) must submit an updated ETRS Form One on or before September 15, 2023. 
· All EAS Participants must file ETRS Form Two to provide “day of test” data on or before October 5, 2023. 47 CFR § 11.61(a)(3)(iv)(B).
 
· All EAS Participants must file ETRS Form Three to provide detailed post-test data on or before November 20, 2023. 47 CFR § 11.61(a)(3)(iv)(C).
  
ETRS Forms Two and Three will become available in ETRS on October 4, 2023, at the time of initiation of the 2023 nationwide test.
B. Who Must File
All EAS Participants – including Low Power FM stations (LPFM), Class D non-commercial educational FM stations, and EAS Participants that are silent pursuant to a grant of Special Temporary Authority – are required to register and file in ETRS, with the following exceptions:
· Analog and digital low power television (LPTV) stations that operate as television broadcast translator stations are not required to register and file in ETRS. See 47 CFR § 11.11(b).

· FM broadcast booster stations and FM translator stations which entirely rebroadcast the programming of other local FM broadcast stations are not required to register and file in ETRS. See id.

· International broadcast stations are not required to register and file in ETRS. See id. (citing 47 CFR § 73.701’s definition of “international broadcast stations”).

· Analog and digital broadcast stations that operate as satellites or repeaters of a hub station (or common studio or control point if there is no hub station) and rebroadcast 100 percent of the programming of the hub station (or common studio or control point) are not required to register and file in ETRS.  However, the hub station (or common studio or control point) is required to register and file in ETRS. See id.

C. Accessing ETRS
Filers can access ETRS by visiting the ETRS page of the Commission’s website at https://www.fcc.gov/general/eas-test-reporting-system. Instructional videos, a user manual and answers to frequently asked questions regarding registration and completion of ETRS filings are also available on the ETRS website.
  Filers must use their registered FCC Username (Username) that is associated with the FCC Registration Numbers (FRNs) for which they will file.  Filers that have already created a Username for use with another FCC system may access the ETRS with that Username.  Filers that do not remember the password that corresponds with their Username may reset it at https://apps2.fcc.gov/fccUserReg/pages/reset-passwd-identify.htm.  Filers that have not previously created a Username may do so by visiting the User Registration System at https://apps2.fcc.gov/fccUserReg/pages/createAccount.htm.  Filers can associate their Username to an FRN by logging in at https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do and clicking on the appropriate option.  Additional information regarding creating and associating FRNs with a Username can be found on the CORES FAQs page at https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do?faq=true.
II. FURTHER INFORMATION
Filers may contact Bureau staff for assistance with ETRS filings via ETRS@fcc.gov.  
For further information regarding the nationwide EAS or WEA tests, contact Austin Randazzo, Associate Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 418-1462 or Austin.Randazzo@fcc.gov. 
Filers may contact FCC Licensing Support for assistance with creating a Username or other CORES troubleshooting via the web at https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/available-support-services, or by telephone at 1-877-480-3201.  The support hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except Federal holidays). 
-FCC-

 

 

Edited by David H. Lipman
Edited for content, clarity, spelling and/or grammar
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  • David H. Lipman changed the title to FEMA and FCC Plan US Nationwide Emergency Alert Test for Oct. 4, 2023

We had one in the UK a few months ago.

Siren noise and message to everybodys mobile - unless they had disabled emergency alerts in their settings.

They didn't do TV and Radio here, those old systems have been in place run by the BBC since the cold war and are being decomissioned.

It provoked a lot of prior discussion -  paranoia about 'spamming by the government'  or 'monitoring where everybody is by their phones', the usual rubbish. - but in the end it was a 5 second wonder.

Edited by nukecad
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It's not just the paranoid who may not want to get the alerts on their mobile,

There was also talk here about domestic violence situations when the abused partner may have a secret 'hidden' mobile for making safety calls, obviously they didn't want that blaring out a siren noise so the abuser knows about it.

There was also scaremongering that the siren noise could be a possible distraction to drivers (who somehow didn't know about the test) and cause accidents, no cases of that seem to have been reported.

I was actually in the pub when it happened here and it was interesting to see everyones phones going off over the course of about 5 minutes, because the timing was slightly different depending on which carrier you use.
Some of those who got it the last looked a bit miffed that their choice of carrier appeared to be 'slower' than others.

So just in case anyone wants/needs to disable emergency alerts on iPhone or Android:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/apr/21/how-to-disable-uk-emergency-alerts-on-your-phone

Edited by nukecad
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I don't/won't use a Smart Phone but on the TV and Radio the regular Broadcast is disrupted by audible message about a TEST with an ~1KHz two-tone sound and a Chyron of text.

Formally known as the Emergency Broadcast System, it was rebranded as the Emergency Alert System (EAS)

While the above is demonstrative, and may be a part of the US EAS Broadcast on 10-04-'23, it does not contain a TEST Message which may be included on that day.

 

Edited by David H. Lipman
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From the Wireless Emergency Alerts website: "Authorized public safety officials send the alerts through FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to wireless providers, which then push the alerts from cell towers to mobile devices in the affected area.  The alerts appear like text messages on mobile devices."

 

 

Edited by NewTricks
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On the phone it allows blocking all except Presidential broadcasts. Personally I don't agree with that policy. There is nothing that is critical that every person in America needs to hear from the President. Sooner or later if it's important you'll hear about it.

On software almost everything can be blocked.

 

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1 minute ago, AdvancedSetup said:

On the phone it allows blocking all except Presidential broadcasts. Personally I don't agree with that policy. There is nothing that is critical that every person in America needs to hear from the President.

Thankfully -- Not anything that has occurred to date !

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7 minutes ago, David H. Lipman said:

 

Thankfully -- Not anything that has occurred to date !

Exactly. War, Famine, Nuclear attack, Solar Flares, etc. etc. in 247 years has anything ever happen that is imperative that ALL must hear it on their phone. People in power that believe they're more important than they really are

Now if you want to alert at a city level I can accept that could potentially be important depending on what the message was.

 

On Dec 7th, 1941 it would not have changed most peoples lives that they had to hear it immediately. There was no immediate impact to the lives of most people. Hearing about it a couple hours later on the Radio or TV would have been more than acceptable.

 

 

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18 hours ago, AdvancedSetup said:

Now if you want to alert at a city level I can accept that could potentially be important depending on what the message was.

The UK system has just such a capability to alert a particular town/city, area, or region.
Ostensibly for 'severe' flood warnings (funny, I already get those by a different system), bomb/terroist attack warnings, etc.

I can think of one case where it might have been useful where I live, in 2010 a gunman was riding round shooting 12 people dead, mostly at random, as well as trying to stop/catch him the police were rushing round the area trying to warn everyone to stay indoors. (Yes I was close to it, and did see one of the bodies).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumbria_shootings

The question being though who would authorise an emergency 'Stay Indoors' warning to be broadcast locally? How long would it take to authorise and be sent out?
How many people would simply ignore a 'Stay Indoors' if no specific reason was given?
The 'shooting spree' lasted 2 hours and I suspect that any alert message issued by the system would have been too late.

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I'm really sorry to read about the shootings, and your experience with it. That's something that is terrifying as it's happening. You're right, in today's climate, would people even heed that warning, and if a reason was given, would that have escalated events? Moot questions and unacceptable subject matter. I'm glad you were/are safe and that life is now without violence where you live. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • Staff

I turned off the emergency alert on my smartphone. Not had any further messages (if there was any) BUT I suspect they will find some way to circumvent this if the government want ALL people to be contacted. Next, we are also aware that people do stupid things such as an alert over flooding, shootings etc, where there will be many that will go to there anyway which could make matters far worse.

Edited by Spud
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Thank you 1PW. A list of WEA providers was not readily available in the link but I can spend more time looking. 

I did see this: "WEAs are only sent to capable wireless devices within the vicinity of the alert area." I may be outside some radius because of the rural location. We country folk like to think we're in the mainstream.

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