On September 27, 2017 the FCC will conduct a nationwide Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) test as described in this Public Notice. After the nationwide test occurs, all Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) participants, which includes cable television systems, radio stations, and both full and low power TV stations, must file EAS Test Registration System (“ETRS”) Forms Two and Three.
As we previously advised, all EAS Participants were required to complete and submit a Form One for all applicable EAS systems by August 28, 2017. Once the nationwide EAS test is conducted on September 27, 2017, the FCC requires all EAS Participants to complete the next steps in the ETRS reporting system, ETRS Form Two and ETRS Form Three.
Form Two & Form Three
Form Two is the “day of test reporting” form. EAS Participants must submit Form Two within 24 hours of the nationwide EAS test (i.e., by September 28, 2017). This should take less than a minute for most EAS Participants. Form Two is prepopulated with the Form One information provided by the EAS Participant, and prompts EAS Participants to report only whether they received and retransmitted the nationwide EAS test message. More detailed information regarding how the nationwide EAS test message was handled by the EAS Participant and its equipment is required in Form Three.
Form Three is the “detailed test reporting” form. Form Three must be submitted to the FCC within 45 days following the nationwide EAS test on September 27, 2017 (i.e., by November 13, 2017). Form Three requires EAS Participants to provide the FCC with detailed information regarding two components of the EAS nationwide test message: receipt of the message and retransmission of the message. With regard to receipt of the test message, EAS Participants will need to provide information that includes the source of the EAS message, the date and time at which the facility received the nationwide EAS test message, and the time zone where the receiving facility is located. EAS Participants will then be prompted to indicate any complications they experienced in receiving the EAS test message. Next, EAS Participants will be required to complete a similar “message retransmission” section of Form Three. If an EAS Participant confirmed its facility retransmitted the nationwide EAS test message in Form Two, the EAS Participant must indicate any complications experienced in retransmitting the message. For both the receipt and retransmission sections, Form Three will allow EAS Participants to include a narrative description of any such complications.
Deadline Extensions Due to Hurricanes
The FCC is aware that some EAS Participants have been greatly impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria that struck the United States and its outlying territories. Accordingly, the FCC issued a Public Notice extending the deadline to file ETRS Form Two until November 13, 2017, the same date that ETRS Form Three is due, for affected entities in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as in portions of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Affected EAS participants may take advantage of this extension and describe their particular circumstances in Form Three. Importantly, for any EAS participants not impacted by recent hurricane activity, the ETRS deadlines described above and in our previous advisory remain in effect.