Generally speaking, it doesn't take a lot of knowledge to interrupt TV and radio broadcasts with an alert through the Emergency Alert System (EAS). It basically only takes ability to know the process for technical activation and, of course, authority to activate. That's likely to change.
Through the FEMA IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) office, an EAS training program is in the works to help public safety organizations understand more about how EAS works and, more importantly, what they need to do to make it work effectively. Things like message construction, when to use and not to use, etc. will presumably be covered.
It's about time, say many broadcasters. After all, it's their air waves being used for issuing EAS alerts...and, they don't like it when the system is used ineffectively. Suzzanne Goucher, President of the Maine Association of Broadcasters" says the training will be a "huge leap forward". She says there's long been a big vacuum that broadcasters have been talking about for years and years. "The vacuum is finally about to be filled", she says.
The training program is under development. FEMA is collaborating with various stakeholders to develop content.
This is not the only first for EAS. For the first time in the well over a century the EAS system (and its predecessors) have been in place, it will be tested nationally. November 9th has been set as the date for the test. (See our latest post here.)
Lots more going on regarding EAS. Stay tuned for more posts.
All the best,