State Employee Grant Program

STATE OF WASHINGTON
EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM

Approved by the
Federal Communications Commission
, March 3, 1997

State Emergency Communications Committee Meeting Minutes

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January 11, 2006

Present:

Ted Buehner - NWS Seattle
Bill Goodwin - Click! Network City of Tacoma
Eric Ortiz - Click! Network City of Tacoma
Mark Allen - WSAB
Don White - Tribune Television
Terry Spring - KWPX TV
Kris McGowan - FCC
Don Miller - WSEM
Clay Freinwald - Entercom
Jim Tharp - Entercom

Via Phone:

Art Blum - KONA
Donna - KAOS
Dennis Hull - NWS Pendleton
John Franz - KVOS TV
Shelli Jones - KBCB TV

The meeting was called to order by Clay Freinwald and introductions were made.

The previous meeting's minutes were destroyed in a fire.

At the SBE, a response will be filed to the EAS NPRM. At present it is at the internal draft stage. Key points are federal coordination of emergency messages and federal support for monitoring links. This would include reliable radio (or other communications methods) links for SRN's, including establishing new SRN's as necessary. Also, standardizing warning messages and improving the text capabilities to better serve the hearing impaired TV audience. Expanding the type of appliances that can receive warning messages is also a priority. For example, having EAS capabilities built in to a stove or refrigerator is a possibility. The broadcasters would like to see themselves removed from the daisy chain. Broadcasters would just pass emergency information on to their audience, instead of being part of the distribution system. This would eliminate the need to broadcast computer info (ie. duck farts).

The next EAS summit will be February 25 in Washington DC. It is not related to the above FCC NPRM.

The tsunami warning system being set up by the state has the backing of Governor Gregoire.

The US Postal Service will be issuing a stamp commemorating the AMBER program.

Tab 10 in the state EAS plan, local stations monitoring assignments will be updated soon. It will be posted on the WSAB web site.

Ted Buehner offered a HazCollect update. Testing is continuing with a roll out in March or April. NWS plans to start registration the beginning of February on their web site, http://dmi-services.org. HazCollect will be a one-stop shop for collection, relay, and distribution of non-weather emergency messages to the NWS dissemination infrastructure, other national systems such as DMIS, and to the Emergency Alert System. See the latest information at http://weather.gov/os/hazcollect.

OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) has approved the Common Alert Protocol (CAP) v1.1. CAP provides a simple, general-purpose format for exchanging all-hazard emergency alerts and public warnings over any network. Users include NWS, NOAA, and USGS. For more information see www.oasis-open.org/news/oasis-news-05-11-30.php.

The proposal that the state be the primary entry point for all alerts has been put on hold. It's likely that our present system will be surpassed by other emerging systems, such as HazCollect.

There have been complaints about alerts having reception problems or bad audio. Please report problems on the remailer with enough details so that any problems can be fixed. Also, check your sources periodically so problems can be recognized before on air tests.

Microphone headsets for originators that are compatible with the EAS boxes can be had for $69 from BSW. Don will test. Proper microphone usage would also help in the origination of alerts.

The North Puget Sound area sent a RWT instead of the scheduled monthly test. This has been addressed.

Wenatchee received multiple RMT's because Moses Lake stations originate there. This will be discussed on the remailer.

There is still discussion about EAS override on cable. A TV station's Retransmission Consent agreement can specify how this addressed.

At the WSAB, Mark Allen reported that January 13 is AMBER Alert Day. He has also been working on reciprocal agreements with surrounding states for AMBER alerts. They will follow the national protocol. Washington will not automatically activate an alert from another state without review.

Everything is fine in Eastern Washington and the North Puget Sound.

The National Weather Service is working on a Spanish language weather radio station in Yakima. It will operate with low power to avoid interfering with other stations. In Whatcom County, they are still working on a weather radio station. Neah Bay weather radio has been rebuilt. The NWS will not run a weekly test if there is significant weather traffic. It will be run as soon as possible after things slow down. Chris Hill will retire on January 13.

At Emergency Management, the tsunami sirens will be converted to satellite activation. The NWS HazCollect will be integrated into the system.
The FCC is still not entirely up to speed from the change in administration.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, March 8 at 9:30 AM at Camp Murray.

Terry W. Spring
Chief Engineer
KWPX Seattle

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