Final Report on 2017 Nationwide EAS Test Released
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | Comments

The FCC released a final report on the Sept. 27, 2017, third nationwide test of the emergency alert system (EAS).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the FCC and the National Weather Service (NWS), conducted the test, designed to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS, with an emphasis on testing FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). IPAWS is the gateway through which common alerting protocol (CAP)-formatted EAS alerts are disseminated to EAS participants for transmission to the public.

Overall, the 2017 nationwide EAS test demonstrated that IPAWS continues to deliver high-quality, effective and accessible EAS alerts, and that EAS participants’ results show improvement in several areas. Specifically 95.8 percent of test participants successfully received the test alert, compared with 95.4 percent in 2016. In addition, 91.9 percent of test participants successfully retransmitted the test alert compared with 85.8 percent in 2016.

Test data, however, revealed that technical issues affect EAS participants’ ability to receive EAS alerts effectively over IPAWS. For example, 58.1 percent of test participants first received the test over-the-air rather than from IPAWS and were unable to deliver the CAP-formatted digital audio, Spanish and text files, which likely would have improved alert accessibility to non-English speakers and those with disabilities.

Additionally, filings from representatives of people with disabilities show that interference with closed captioning and other EAS participant practices impeded the full accessibility of the test. The report provides a gauge of EAS performance and can help EAS participants understand how to improve their technical and operational performance.

The full report is here.

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