Plans Set for Jan. 6 Alaska EAN Test

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Washington - Jan 5, 2009 - The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the State of Alaska and the Alaska Broadcasters' Association will conduct a statewide exercise of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in Alaska on Jan. 6, 2010, at 10 a.m. local time (2 p.m. ET). Radio and television broadcast stations and cable television systems across the state of Alaska will participate in the exercise aimed at testing the capabilities of the EAS system. With the help of the Alaska Broadcasters Association, public service announcements informing the public about the test were distributed to television and radio stations on Dec. 21.

The test will use the EAN code, which is designed to provide a communications path from the president to all broadcast media outlets. A test using the real event code of EAN has never been attempted. One reason the test is being held in Alaska is because the state is isolated from the rest of the United States. One idea is that the test can be contained to just the state.

A PSA was distributed to all TV stations to inform viewers of the upcoming test. That video is available online.

The test is planned to last three minutes. The extended length is designed to verify that EAS units will not time out after two minutes (as they are designed to do on test messages) and revert to station programming.

Look for a follow-up from Radio magazine after the test is complete.

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