Virginia State Emergency Communications Committee
2016 Tornado DrillThe annual Virginia/NWS Statewide Tornado drill will be conducted on March 22th at approximately 9:45 AM (In case of widespread inclement weather on that date, the drill will be held the next day.) The date was selected by the National Weather Service and VDEM in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Education.
Please mark your calendars for March 22 and let others know. Online registration for the drill through the VDEM website is not yet open, but we’ll notify you when it is.
Stations should let their local chairperson, or the SECC know if they have problems sending or receiving the test. Here is the Live code waiver from the FCC.
IPAWS TRAINING AVAILABLEIt may be helpful for L.E.C.C. Chairmen to avail themselves of IPAWS training. This is a Independent Study Course and is the same course that Emergency Managers in your locale will be taking in order to participate in IPAWS. The State Committee believes that a basic understanding of IPAWS will be required to write an effective Local Area Plan. The course is on-line and should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
AMBER ALERTSThere may be many components to local AMBER ALERT PLANS, some unique to the individual locality.
Many components do not involve broadcasters and are not discussed here.
1. The AMBER alert EAS activation request MUST be routed by the appropriate law enforcement agencies to the Virginia State Police (VSP). VSP will evaluate the request using the attached criteria and flowchart from the state AMBER plan.
2. VSP will initiate any EAS activation. Initially, such activations will be made with a statewide location code (051000) and will be broadcast statewide by NOAA weather radio to the LP stations (WQPO and WMRA) for rebroadcast. As resources permit, a more targeted system will be developed.
3. Receipt of an AMBER alert via EAS is a cue to individual stations to monitor their fax machines OR GO TO THE STATE AMBER website for supplemental information. The fax broadcasts will come from VSP. Local agencies may, as always, issue press information to broadcast outlets, and are encouraged to do so.
Stations should closely monitor the Virginia AMBER website and their fax machines for the duration of the event, There will be NO EAS activations for additional information or cancellations. The Virginia AMBER website will include photos when available for television station use. A link to this website is now posted on the VA EAS WEBSITE navigation bar.
4. Stations are encouraged to broadcast once the EAS activation (LP stations will broadcast these alerts). Additional information may be broadcast by stations just as they would any late-breaking news story. Participation in AMBER is completely voluntary; stations operating unattended will likely be able to only broadcast the original EAS activation (automatic relay).
The purpose of the EAS activation is to notify stations that there is such an event occurring in a rapid manner, and to serve as authentication for the fax messages to follow. Stations are not expected to transcribe or record the original AMBER message from the EAS broadcast.
5. Additional announcements may be made by the stations as they deem appropriate. The suggested schedule, as contained in the state AMBER plan, is this:
6. Supplemental information via facsimile will be targeted only at the region of concern, even though the EAS alert will be distributed statewide. Therefore, if you do not receive any information via fax, or cannot find any information on the Virginia AMBER website you may in fact not have anything to broadcast. Disregard the event.
7. Stations monitoring the EAS activation may delete the event if it does not seem applicable. For Example, an abduction in Tidewater is of no concern to Winchester stations until such time as law enforcement may believe the victim has been transported to that area. LP stations will rebroadcast ALL AMBER EAS alerts using the CAE code.
8. Stations are reminded that EAS activations contrary to the State and Local Area plans may be considered "false or deceptive EAS transmissions" as per 47 CFR 11.45. ALL AMBER ACTIVATIONS MUST ORIGINATE WITH THE VIRGINIA STATE POLICE.
9. Further information is available on the web.
ALTERNATE PEP EAN ALERTSNPR, in cooperation with the FCC's Emergency Alert Advisory Committee, has established an alternate source for National Level EAN notifications. NPR stations who monitor the analog "squawk channel" can input this source into their EAS equipment and provide a valuable service. More.
How the state relay system works
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