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Emergency Alert System (EAS)

Beginning January 1, 1997, the new Emergency Alert System (EAS) replaced the old EBS for all broadcast stations--AM, FM, and TV. This new system replaced the weekly "only a test" message with less obtrusive weekly tests and shorter, monthly on-air tests for television and radio stations. The EAS uses digital technology to distribute messages, and this allows for improvements in providing emergency information to the public. The new system has a less obtrusive testing system--broadcast stations are only required to transmit the digital codes, test script, attention signal, and, for TV stations a visual message, once a month. The required weekly test only consists of the digital codes and should be less than 8 seconds in duration. The new EAS should be less likely to cause broadcast audiences to tune out the EBS because they assume it is "just a test". The new system allows state and local officials to quickly send out important area specific state and local emergency information and it also recognizes the need to provide emergency information to people whose first language is not English.

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