It will be a test – only a test – but the FCC has set in place the possibility of a nationwide or regional presidential broadcast over the Emergency Alert System. The test will be forthcoming at an as-yet undetermined date, and could lead to further improvements to the system.
According to the FCC, their order on the topic will open the door to test the system by “transmitting a Presidential Alert from Washington, D.C. to television and radio broadcasters, cable systems and satellite service providers who will then deliver the alert to the American public.”
The project is being carried out in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, and with the National Weather Service (NWS).
Going forward, the system will be looked at with regard to other alert systems and with an eye toward including the many mobile devices commonly used by modern consumers.
A public awareness campaign is also in the offing, which will includes PSAs for both television and radio broadcast. The campaign’s goals will be to make citizens aware of the test beforehand, and to explain the benefits of the enhanced EAS system.
The FCC approved the order with a unanimous 5-0 vote.