The Federal Communications (FCC) established the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in November 1994. Using new digital technology, the EAS replaced the old Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) as a tool to warn the public about emergencies.
The most common use of the EAS is by the National Weather Service to warn local communities about severe weather warnings. You have probably heard radio stations interrupt their programming to broadcast a tornado warning or seen a TV station or cable system run a "crawl" across the bottom of the TV screen about a severe thunderstorm. That's EAS.
EAS can be activated nationally by the President of the United States, statewide by the Governor, or locally by authorized city or county officials for other emergencies, ranging from earthquakes to forest fires or hazardous material releases to nuclear war.
In February 2002 the FCC amended its rules for the Emergency Alert System to add a new Child Abduction Emergency (CAE) event code which may be used to activate the Amber Alert Plan messages. The FCC has "strongly encouraged" radio, TV stations, and cable outlets to voluntarily use the new CAE event code as soon as their EAS encode/decoder equipment can be modified.
The majority of Indiana broadcaster will be using the "Civil Emergency" code for future "Amber" alerts until all EAS equipment manufacturers have produced the new Amber software.
State EAS plans are developed by a State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), while local EAS plans are developed by Local Emergency Communications Committee (LECC). Both committees are composed of National Weather Service representatives, emergency management officials, radio-TV broadcasters and cable system operators.
In some states or local areas, the SEMA or LECC has authorized activation of the EAS for reports about missing children believed to be abducted.
The FCC maintains a list of web sites where several state and local EAS plans are available.
Review the list of State and Local EAS Plan web sites.
If your local area is not listed, you can e-mail the FCC to request:
The name, address and telephone number of the SEMA or LECC Chairman for you geographic area.
The contact person and call letters of the Local Primary stations that server your geographic area
A copy of you Local EAS Plan to find out if EAS can be activated for reports about abducted children.
You can call the FCC's Emergency Alert System office @202-418-1100