Lisa M. Fowlkes, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, says broadcasters play a vital role during emergencies and the public relies on them to stay informed, find resources and stay safe. “To continue fulfilling this important mission, broadcasters must ensure that their systems are secure and reliable. Here are some best practices to help.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the FCC, announced Monday morning that the National Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts tests scheduled for this Thursday, Sept. 20, have been postponed due to “ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.”
The FCC and FEMA have established Sept. 20 as the date for the next nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. The nationwide test is designed to study the effectiveness of the EAS and to monitor the performance of EAS participants. The Wireless Emergency Alert system will be tested immediately prior to the test of the EAS. While the test itself is a month away, all EAS participants must file their Form One with the FCC by Aug. 27 in preparation for the test.
Public interest group MMTC had petitioned the US Court of Appeals for a rehearing on its decision upholding the FCC decision deciding not to impose any multilingual EAS obligations on broadcasters. The full Court of Appeals has just issued a one sentence order denying that reconsideration request. While, theoretically, MMTC’s next appeal would be to the Supreme Court, lacking an issue of major significance or constitutional importance, that is unlikely.
The false alert of a nuclear attack on Hawaii is an inexcusable, but hardly isolated example of the fragility and fragmentation of America’s emergency alerting system. As natural and manmade threats persist and increase, it is clear that our alerting system is not up to the task of serving the mobile and connected America of the 21st Century.
Saturday’s false missile alert in Hawaii is fueling doubts about the Emergency Alert System’s ability to keep Americans informed in an actual emergency.
Blue Alerts are designed to protect law enforcement officers and communities.