FEMA Sends EAS Tests Through CAP Servers

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Washington - Dec 5, 2011 - Activity on the Society of Broadcast Engineers email list server called the EAS Exchange notes that stations with CAP-capable EAS units that are polling the FEMA CAP servers have received some EAS tests with the RWT (Required Weekly Test) event code.

Al Kenyon, project manager at FEMA IPAWS, replied to the posts saying the tests were an initial set of manually fired tests. His post says the tests will become automated and target the largest time zone area of each state. Once the automatic testing begins, Kenyon says the tests will be sent at 10:05, 11:05, 12:05 and 13:05.

The goal is to allow users to confirm their CAP\EAS devices are properly configured to receive CAP alerts from IPAWS OPEN and to ignore CAP alerts not directed to outlying service areas.

Kenyon added that as more CAP\EAS devices come online, the tests will also exercise the IPAWS OPEN EAS interface under varying load conditions.

It has not yet been determined or announced when the automatic test routine will commence, but it will likely be soon. Kenyon will provide a status update via the SBE EAS Exchange when the automatic routine starts.

When Radio magazine contacted Kenyon for comment, he said it would be interesting for the industry to indicate how long the tests should run on a daily basis. He says to date, no one has offered any response to that portion of FEMA's reply comments to the third FNPRM on EAS.

Kenyon also noted that if a station receives the RWT via the IPAWS Open server, it's very likely that EAS unit will respond to an actual alert.

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