FCC Proposes New Rules for Emergency Alert Systems, Requests
Friday, January 29, 2016 | Comments

The FCC proposed rules to strengthen the emergency alert system (EAS), the national public warning system. The proposals are intended to improve EAS by facilitating involvement on the state and local levels, supporting greater testing and awareness of the system, leveraging technological advances and enhancing EAS security, the commission said.

The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), aimed at promoting community preparedness and ensuring that the public receives the most effective alerts during emergencies, includes proposals to do the following:

• 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 (sound), provided that they are presented in a nonmisleading and technically harmless manner.
The NPRM also seeks comment on issues including:

• 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.

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