Emergency Alert System

What is the Emergency Alert System or EAS?

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas.

When is the EAS used and when would a national EAS alert be sent?

The EAS is often used by state and local emergency managers to alert the public about emergencies and weather events. The system provides the ability to send messages regionally or nationally. A major disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami could require the use of the system to send life­-saving information to the public.

FCC rules require all radio, TV, cable and satellite systems nationwide to immediately interrupt their regular programming to broadcast national EAN messages and tests.

The first emergency notification system (CONELRAD) was created by President Truman in 1951. Since then, no President has ever used a national warning system such as CONELRAD, the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS, 1960s -­ 1996) or the Emergency Alert System (EAS, 1997 – on) to issue an Emergency Action Notification (EAN) message.

EAS is also used for AMBER Alerts for missing children. Dallas broadcasters created the AMBER Alert program in 1998. Since then it has been used by local law enforcement agencies to recover 542 abducted children across the nation.

How is the Emergency Alert System different from Longview's Emergency Notification System:

The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system that uses television and radio broadcasting to transmit emergency messages on the national, state, or local level. In contrast, Longview's Emergency Notification and Weather Warning System is a local resource that utilizes a rapid telephone calling system to alert residents of emergencies by phone.

Learn more about Longview's Emergency Notification and Weather Warning System.

Learn more about the Emergency Alert System:

The website of the Federal Communications Commission provides additional information about the Emergency Alert System.