The current Emergency Alert System (EAS) is an outgrowth of the need to
notify the public dating back to 1951, with the establishment of CONELRAD.
In 1963 this was replaced by Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which included
the two-tone alert signal. In 1990 President Bush (#1) directed that a
system be put in place so that national emergencies could be quickly communicated
with the public. This resulted in the current EAS, which brought in broadcasters
(1997), large cable systems(1998), small cable sytems(2002, with some
waivers out to 2005) and finally satellite and IPTV providers (2007).
REQUIREMENTS- The FCC has outlined in their Part
11 document both the essential operational features of the EAS Encoder/Decoder
and the responsibility of the participants. In short your Emergency Alert
System must have a certified Encoder/Decoder (or optional Decoder only
for systems under 5,000 suds), monitor a primary (LP1) and secondary (LP2)
radio station, based on your locale and as assigned in your state
EAS plan. It must respond to and pass through a required weekly test
(RWT), required monthly test (RMT) and a national emergency (EAN). All
other alert types, including weather,
Amber, Local, etc., are not mandated by the FCC and are done as a company
policy or as requirement of a particular franchise agreement. Events must
be logged, either electronically or in print and be available for an FCC
inspector. An EAS handbook is available from the FCC here.