FCC Updates EAS Rules to Make Messages Easier to Understand, More Informative
Thursday, September 29, 2022 | Comments

The FCC updated its Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules so that alerts delivered over television and radio are more informative and easier to understand by the public, particularly people with disabilities.

The EAS, which is used by government agencies to send alerts and warnings to the public over television and radio, is comprised of both a legacy system and an internet-based system, with the latter offering superior messaging capabilities. The updated rules require broadcasters, cable systems, and other EAS participants to transmit the internet-based version of alerts to the public when available, rather than transmitting the legacy version of alerts. The increased use of internet-based alerts, in Common Alerting Protocol format, will produce higher-quality audio messages, improve the availability of multilingual alerts, and ensure that more of the alerts displayed on television screens contain all of the information provided by the government.

The updated rules will also replace the technical jargon that accompanies certain alerts, including test messages, with plain language terms so that the visual and audio messages are clearer to the public.

As a result of the action by the commission, people who are deaf or hard of hearing will have access to alerts in a viewable format that more closely matches the audible versions of the alert messages on television. In addition, people who are blind or visually impaired will have access on their radios to national alerts containing more detailed audio information. Clearer and more accessible alerts will help Americans prepare for and respond to emergencies.

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