Emergency Communications: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings [Updated July 17, 2006] [open pdf - 99KB]
"The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is built on a structure conceived in the 1950's when over-the-air broadcasting was the best-available technology for widely disseminating emergency alerts. It is one of several federally managed warning systems. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly administers EAS with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS), an organization within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA/NWS weather radio system has been upgraded to an all-hazard warning capability. Measures to improve the NOAA network and the broader-based EAS are underway or are being tested. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458) addressed the possibility of using advanced telecommunications and Internet technologies for emergency notification by requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement pilot projects. On June 26, 2006, President George W. Bush issued an executive order stating that U.S. policy is 'to have an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible, and comprehensive system to alert and warn the American people.' To achieve this policy, the President sets out a list of functional requirements for the Secretary of Homeland Security to meet. [...]. This report summarizes the technology and administration of EAS and the NOAA/NWS all-hazard network, new programs in DHS, and some of the key proposals for change. It will be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32527