Best Practices: Use of Local EAS Plans

Idea#41

Stage: Active

Campaign: EAS State Plans and Monitoring Assignments

Today's webinar did not really highlight the role of local EAS plans in verifying monitoring assignments. I think that the best practices document should refer broadcast and cable systems to their local plans to verify that all local monitor assignments are indeed connected to EAS devices. It might also remind everyone that having a local plan posted at the EAS operating point is an FCC compliance requirement.

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Comments

  1. Comment
    jsensenbach

    I agree. While the official purpose of EAS is to allow the President to communicate with the country, almost all of the daily use of the system is local. Without the local Plans, nothing works!

  2. Comment
    nevadaeas

    I agree. Many station operators don't realize that their EAS equipment should be checked every day to make sure they are receiving signals from the stations they are supposed to monitor. Too many board operators, Master Control operators and other staff members are just plain afraid of the equipment.

  3. Comment
    Manny Centeno
    ( Moderator )

    Excellent point- something to highlight in our next roundtable August 15th- thank you!

  4. Comment
    jfcrosby

    One item I feel is very important to a local plan, for non-weather eas activations, is the tiered concept of eas codes that depict the level of concern and the expected action of broadcasters and citizens/listeners in the system. Simply put some eas messages do not need immediate forwarding they are the quickest way to notify the broadcasters of dangerous situations that may escalate and with the appropriate cap message format could notify news and traffic broadcasters of those situations so they can put on the air their personalities to broadcast those messages at timely but convenient times or simply monitor for escalation of the event. The next level of messages are for those broadcasters that have multiple modes of manned or automatic operations, those messages that are of a higher level of concern that the message needs immediate attention but could be broadcast by on-air personalities at a break point in programming (breaking news) or if the station is automated simply be forwarded based on agreement in a local plan. Finally those warning codes that are of highest concern be set for immediate break-in and forwarded. I feel this tiered approach does several things #1 it builds training for the local originators, if it is not used on a regular basis it will not be used during an emergency. #2 it develops a trust between broadcasters and local officials that they will not abuse the system.

    Any system we develop must be trained on, exercised and used to best advantage regularly or there will be confusion on how and when to use it when it is most needed. In a metro environment daily use of a system would not be a bad thing, but it should be carefully thought out for everyone’s advantage. Those skills we use every day are those we depend on during emergencies. I firmly believe that there is enough flexibility in the EAS System to allow this concept.

  5. Comment
    rar01 ( Idea Submitter )

    In the Part 11 FNPRM Comments that the Broadcast Warning Group (BWWG) filed last week, we, along with NASBA, took the position that all warnings are event driven. To me this means that we should do everything possible to identify those codes that have the most direct effect on preserving lives and make them mandatory and not go with the governor mandatory approach the FCC wants. I feel that applying the idea of mandatory event life safety codes and adding that to the tiered concept as outlined by jfcrosby would be a good thing.

  6. Comment
    jfcrosby

    To further explain my thought any EAS code ending with "I or W" are of highest concern and require immediate action.

    Any EAS code ending with "E" are situations of concern but could be done with normal interupt such as breaking news or during the start of commercial breaks. Any other endings could be acted upon by the broadcasters as they see fit. One exception already is present to that based on state plans(at least in Kansas)CAE, Child Abduction Emergency is automatically forwarded statewide, but that was done with careful planning and all parties in agreement. To my thinking CEM and ADR are of the lowest active codes and should be used as such, no forwarding required, for informational purpose and advisory in nature.

    Each EAS code should be reviewed by the Local EAS Committee and validate its use in the local plan. Any code not agreed to in the plan would simply be ignored.

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