EAS State Plans and Monitoring Assignments

Emergency Managers Participation

There is currently no mandatory participation by Emergency Managers. This should be changed. The Emergency Managers in our Area do not care to use EAS and have little idea how to utilize it if they wanted to. This must change

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Idea#8

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Similar Ideas [ 4 ]

Comments

  1. Comment
    loteng

    Local emergency managers are not federal officials. They are usually county or city managers, sometimes state managers. The FCC as a federal agency does not have the authority to require them to do anything. Of course it would be a good idea if they used it, and here in NV and Las Vegas, they do, but that's a result of our educating them, not mandating them.

  2. Comment
    friar ( Idea Submitter )

    loteng,

    Doesn't matter. If Emergency Managers do not participate the system won't work. There needs to be some way to get them to participate, they won't listen to us here.

  3. Comment
    friar ( Idea Submitter )

    Doesn't the FCC give Emergency Managers Licenses for their Radios? They are thus regulated like the rest of us.

  4. Comment
    loteng

    Apples and oranges. A license for a land mobile, even in the public safety sector does not Force anything upon the license holder that would have anything to do with EAS. It would be an abuse for the FCC to blackmail the EM's with something like, Do what we want in this other area or we'll pull your license for your two way. In most areas the EM's radios are licensed to the county/city/state rather than the department within the political subdivision. Now we are getting into State's Right's issues. I don't want the FCC to think they are some kind of Benevolent Dictators. We educate and assist our EM's and they are glad to have our support. If we tried to dictate to them, They'd fight us.

  5. Comment
    friar ( Idea Submitter )

    Ok, well said. So how do the broadcasters get EM's to participate in EAS? It is pretty frustrating being forced to participate in a system that is never used by EMs in our area.

  6. Comment
    rar01

    Several of us have talked with FEMA about incorporating EAS training within the National Incident Management System (NIMS). They are apparently headed in that direction. Doing so will have the effect of exposing local and state emergency managers to EAS training if they expect to get reimbursed by FEMA for emergency response costs. That's not enough, though. With the help of FEMA, we need to reach out to the national organization for state emergency managers as well as state groups. I am practicing what I am talking about. I have secured a slot at the state emergency managers convention in California for our SECC to make a presentation on CAP-EAS.

  7. Comment
    loteng

    To get the EM's to participate requires a couple of things. First figure out who is the real power in the EM department. Often the head is just a political appontee and thre is someone who does the work. That is the person you approach aand let them sell their boss. Educate that person. Show then how it helps them, at no cost to them and makes their job more important and easier. I shudder when I hear news reports of Sirens being used in Joplin, without mentioning the EAS. Sirens are only good for a few blocks and blow down. They are harder to get functioning again than an AM radio station. Most importantly show them that you are there to support them, not dictate to them. When they realize you can only help them, and imporve their performance without threatening their positions, you have made the first steps. Now back up what you say with positive action on your part.

  8. Comment
    Community Member

    When I try and get in touch with Emergency management in this area about them using broadcasters to provide information to the public, they do not even relay most times, other times the reply is that it is not important, they have their own way of doing it. A lot of times to get any information we have to know something is happen, and about what to go ask for further information, and then it is usually an answer that does not provide any information. Maybe encouraging them from a federal level to participate in the test would make them aware that broadcast can be a service to them.

  9. Comment
    Manny Centeno
    ( Moderator )

    These ideas in the comments section are really insightful! Feel free to post them seperately so that others can vote on them specifically.

  10. Comment
    friar ( Idea Submitter )

    Well,

    It actually does cost EM's It costs them to maintain equipment and for personnel training, among other things. It will cost every EM that has an older EAS unit to upgrade to CAP also, although they are not forced to.

  11. Comment
    rvonzeigler

    One thing to keep in mind is that the local EM's usually only interface with the station via the news reporters (assuming the station has such a thing). That relationship is vastly different than getting automatic alerts sent out pre-incident. Education of both the EM's and station personnel is necessary.

    As to stations that do not have news reporters, EM's might be more open to sending alerts via the state CAP system for automatic broadcast on local stations. We have to face the fact that the few stations with a news/weather department are going to be all over the situation because this is an area of primary focus for them. EAS/CAP will only be an adjunct to their efforts. The stations that have no news/weather people and are not focused on local news will be the biggest beneficiaries of EAS/CAP. It will be their "Newsman-in-a Can" It will allow them to serve the "Public Interest, Convenience, and Necessity" when needed and with relatively little investment.

  12. Comment
    friar ( Idea Submitter )

    Yes, EMs do interface with Local Stations that have a news team. However, in small markets, most news teams are not available after hours, this is when CAP and EAS needs to be automatically used by EMs and sent throughout the broadcast EAS network. The Only way EAS works is if EM's know how to use it. Otherwise it is only good for national or state alerts, or weather alerts where NOAA is available. (NOAA radio is not available everywhere)

  13. Comment
    Manny Centeno
    ( Moderator )

    Great discussion! At FEMA IPAWS we are working with several States to encourage them to either begin using the EAS as a vital alerting tool, or upgrade their existing EAS. We are encoraging States to update their EAS Plans and monitoring assignments, and urging them to exercise the EAS by conducting planned and coordinated EAS monthly tests. We have seen success in this area, particularly in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where we are providing technical support. Other States have shown interest in partnering with FEMA to engage in these activities. If you are in a State that may be able to benefit from these interactions, please let us know.

  14. Comment
    george

    I'm not so sure about a "mandate" for cooperation. A prudent emergency manager should take stock of, and be comfortable using all the tools at his/her disposal in times of emergency. In areas with a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), most have a "media" representative, or should. By contacting the chairperson, local broadcasters may be able to share knowledge about EAS and our other capabilities with the EM community - to everyone's advantage. EAS should also be a part of every area's emergency communications and alerting plan. Again, check with the LEPC in your area or the local EM.

  15. Comment
    Chrisoanderson

    Education of the local EM team or person should be done. This must be scheduled. It takes one broadcaster who has the will and time.

    With the world changing rapidly, EM may become very important. We need to stress to the EM that it is in their best interest to get on board and be caught sleeping if and when an emergency strikes. I am in South TX along the border and if cartels go wild, citizens need to be informed. All stations would need to participate along with all government services. I also agree that CAP and EAS should work together but separately and parallel to each other.

  16. Comment
    John Dooley

    There needs to be an educational process set in place for not only the EM but for the public safety answering point (PSAP) personnel also they are the ones that will set off an alert (sirens included) to warn the public. The PSAP personnel need to be trained also.

  17. Comment
    Community Member

    There are three design problems with EAS currently that make it unattractive to Emergency Managers;

    1) There is no way to incorporate it in an exercise as the only mode is actual alerts, the national activation test being a well publicised exception.

    2) Local emergency managers deal with local emergencies, and this Federal system lacks some event codes e.g. water supply problem, school weather closing, school lockdown, and the means to be locally selective by using polygons for example.

    3) The EAS may not carry the alert, because it is pooly integrated with automation playout and may interrupt advertising and attractive programming. See which contributes to the results in http://tinyurl.com/eas-dissert. Forcing people to buy into an inferior system is not the best way of doing business.

  18. Comment
    friar ( Idea Submitter )

    @Community Member, not true. 1. Local EM's can test Local EAS networks as part of an exercise, there are event codes for different types of testing. EM's just need to coordinate with the local broadcasters and the Local EAS committee. 2. There are events codes for some local emergencies, and CAP will add much to this issue. 3. Stations that do not properly carry alerts are subject to fines.

  19. Comment
    friar ( Idea Submitter )

    @Community Member, It is true that EAS is not locally selective. That does not mean that EM's should not utilize it as part of an overall plan to warn the public. For instance, local EM's in our area rely exclusively on reverse 911 to warn the public. The problem with that is that sometimes the internet in our area goes down, which means they cannot use this system in such a case. Also, some folks are away from their phones during an emergency and only have access to radios. Plus, many people have only cordless phones in their homes. When the power goes out, those phones are not available. Think of EAS as adding to your tools for public warning, not taking away. CAP will make this simpler for local EMs also.

  20. Comment
    Community Member

    OK, so some codes are for use in exercises I gather. However having a different code would make it different from an apparently real exercise, and the coordination process is cumbersome so does it get used much? Also there is no way to transmit it without interrupting program content, which is the reason for the cumbersome process at present.

    While I am not opposed to legal sanctions to accomplish results like getting alerts broadcast, given the demonstrated unpopularity of EAS currently, would it not be wiser to implement better technology which is more welcome so legal sanctions are then a backup process because there are still those who would not implement a better system without legal sanctions? Would it not be better to address the cause of the problems illustrated in http://tinyurl.com/eas-dissert rather than to try to eliminate the results only?

  21. Comment
    friar ( Idea Submitter )

    Ok CM, your points are good ones. So why should the Broadcasters be forced into participating in something that many EM's consider unproductive and do not participate in? This is the point I was trying to make in the first place. We, as broadcasters are forced to participate in a program that is not even used in many places by local emergency managers. What can we do to fix this? I for one desire to see EAS used effectively as one of many public warning tools, but when EAS is perceived by EM's and broadcasters and the public the way it is here in this discussion, it really has become very ineffective in some areas of the country. To encourage its use (Since broadcasters are required to provide it anyway), something has to change. I was only suggesting that local EM's be somehow forced into to using it since many will not. I would welcome other suggestions to getting EM's on board with the program. Unfortunately, education does not work everywhere. Politics, bad blood between municipalities and other factors can play a large part in this issue.

  22. Comment
    nevadaeas

    There are serious constitutional issues that would arise from making EAS mandatory for state and local officials. However, FEMA could develop requirements for funding certain programs like mitigation grants as long as state and local officials committed to EAS and by following through when they don't keep such commitments. We all have examples of disasters and emergencies where EAS should have been used and wasn't. In my case, one glaring example was the Angorra Fire in the Tahoe area.

  23. Comment
    MANelson

    Our State EOC initiates RMTs and RWTs. Local EMs can activate EAS for their area through the State EOC. The state EOC also activates EAS for monthly Siren activation tests for our Power stations. The state also has an MOU with the NWS to activate EAS through NOAA Weather radio, if needed. We have a very active broadcast community and SECC.

  24. Comment
    percy28412

    Careful bashing local EM's. Notice M A Nelson's comment, local EM's must go thru the State EOC. That becomes too time consuming with the sxxx hits the fan.

  25. Comment
    jfcrosby

    My 2 cents, I believe whenever a warning system of any type is tested or sounded (for example sirens) there should be an EAS appropriate message as well. With that said I do not believe an EM sounding sirens for a Tornado Warning should resend an EAS message as this is the duty of the NWS. But for any test or any other type of non-weather use of a given warning system an EAS message of appropriate structure should be sent. For example when I plan to conduct a test of our sirens here in Sedgwick County Kansas I use the DMO Demo/Practice code along with CAP message to validate why sirens are sounded. Makes for good practice, those paying attention know what is going on, and DMO are not a high level of concern so they don't get forwarded through the system and only local monitoring stations would recieve it.

    My example form our last test;

    A CIVIL AUTHORITY HAS ISSUED A PRACTICE/DEMO WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES/AREAS: Sedgwick, KS; AT 11:51 AM ON JUL 18, 2011 EFFECTIVE UNTIL 12:21 PM. MESSAGE FROM SEDGEOC. Sedgwick County Emergency Management will be testing the Outdoor Warning Sirens at Noon Today. Sedgwick County outdoor warning sirens are tested every Monday at 12:00 PM (Noon) except when threatening weather is present and Holidays. The Alert Mode is a steady tone used for Tornado warning, The Attack Mode is a classic Rise and Fall sound used for Air Attack Warning in times of war. Each mode is tested for about 2 minutes. Outdoor warning sirens are designed to be an early warning device primarily for persons who are outside away from the television and/or radio. Remember, when The Outdoor Warning Sirens Sound, Take cover, Tune in, Take action. Emergency Management officials highly recommend citizens keep a NOAA weather alert radio in their homes, preferable in the bedroom, with a tone alert for those times when you are not monitoring public media.

  26. Comment
    Manny Centeno
    ( Moderator )

    Excellent information- thanks for sharing an example from your last test jfcrosby!

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