Among the many victims of coronavirus was the 2020 version of the National Test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). With the pandemic hopefully on the retreat, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has scheduled the 2021 test for 2:20 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday. August 11. If there should be substantially threatening weather, like a hurricane, or some other high-alert situation, the test will be postponed until Wednesday, August 25.
New to this year’s proceedings will be a nationwide test of Wireless Emergency Alerts. In recent years the FCC has made a concerted effort to extend warning capabilities of newer technologies.
Stations should take their first action now – there is a July 6 deadline by which each broadcast station must submit “Form One” in the FCC’s EAS Test Reporting System. That’s the filing that tells the FCC about which EAS decoder and encoder stations are using, or units combining such decoder and encoder functions, as well as other identifying information.
On or before August 12, 2021, EAS Participants must file “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two.
On or before September 27, 2021, EAS Participants must file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three.
For broadcasters that use Sage endecs, they need to be updated to match the new FEMA security certificate going into effect on August 21 (see below). In theory this has no impact on the national test on August 11. FEMA has announced that they will not be using the IP connection for this test in an effort to validate the broadcast “daisy-chain” system.
July 2, 2021
This message is from Sage Alerting Systems regarding your Sage Digital ENDEC model 3644. It applies only to users in the United States. We discuss two timely, but unrelated events:
1) FEMA Signing Certificate updates, Action required before August 21, 2021.
2) National Periodic Test – Scheduled for August 11, 2021
FEMA Signing Certificate updates (CR-Rev6)
A signing certificate used by FEMA to validate CAP alerts will expire on Aug 21, 2021 at 21:00:00 UTC. Sage has released a free firmware update for Rev95 that you must install to permit your ENDEC to continue to receive EAS CAP alerts from FEMA after that date. You can install the CR-Rev6 update at any time before August 21, 2021. You do not need to install it before the National Periodic Test as the NPT will not use CAP this year.
Please go to the Sage firmware update page at https://www.sagealertingsystems.com/support-firmware-new.htm to read the release notes and download the update file. You must already be running the Rev95 release to install this update.
National Periodic Test (NPT)
This year’s test will be sent via the Primary Entry Point (PEP) network, that is, via over-the-air audio-EAS only, on August 11, 2021 at 2:20p.m. EDT. CAP will not be used. To help ensure that you will receive and relay this test, take the following steps:
1) Check your log to make sure that you are receiving weekly tests from your monitor assignments, and that you have been originating weekly tests and relaying Monthly Tests as required by your license type.
2) Make sure your ENDEC has a filter to receive and relay the NPT. The easiest way to check this is to access your ENDEC with a web browser. From the main page, click the Tools button on the left column, then click the “Verify Req” button. If you see “Your ENDEC will meet the FCC requirements for the National Periodic Test” on the last line, your ENDEC is ready.
If you have any questions regarding this update or the NPT, please email us at [email protected] or call 914-872-4069 and press 1 for support.