Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings [Updated July 3, 2008]   [open pdf - 125KB]

From the Summary: "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 new Digital Emergency Alert System (DEAS) are ongoing. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with the Association of Public Television Stations, is implementing a program that will disseminate national alert messages over digital broadcast airwaves, using satellite and public TV broadcast towers. This program, referred to as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), is part of the Department's response to an Executive Order requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to meet specific requirements for an alert system as part of U.S. policy. […] Two bills would place statutory requirements on the development of IPAWS and would authorize funding to implement the program and conduct pilot tests. These are the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2008 (H.R. 6038, Graves) and the Alerting Lives Through Effective and Reliable Technological Systems (ALERTS) Act (H.R. 6392, Cuellar). The latter bill also addresses federal participation in operating parts of the CMAS alerting capability."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32527
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