January 28, 2016 – The FCC has issued its latest Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) related to the Emergency Alert System. The purpose is to explore ways to promote community preparedness and ensure that the public receives the most effective alerts during emergencies. Proposals include:
- Encourage more strategic engagement in EAS at the state and local levels by streamlining, automating, and improving the utility of state EAS plans filed with the FCC;
- Authorize state and local alert originators and EAS participants to conduct periodic “live” EAS tests, provided that steps are taken to prevent public confusion; and
- Allow federal, state, and local governments to issue public service announcements using the EAS Attention Signal (e., sound), provided that they are presented in a non-misleading and technically harmless manner.
The NPRM also seeks comment on:
- Measures to enhance EAS security, such as whether EAS participants should be required to submit an annual certification that they are following EAS security best practices;
- Whether technological advancements have improved the ability of cable providers to offer more specific and informative alert content and, if so, whether the Commission should retain certain related rule provisions;
- Assessing and meeting public expectations for receiving alerts as content is viewed across different technology platforms; and
- How community-based alerting exercises can best meet the needs of individuals with limited English proficiency and those with disabilities.
More information is available at the FCC website.