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The Roanoke Extended
Operational Area

LOCAL AREA EAS PLAN


 PLAN INDEX
 Introduction
 Definitions
 LP stations
 Implementation
 RWTs
 RMTs
 Local Alerts
 State Alerts
 NWS Alerts
 Monitor Assign
 Procedures

  OTHER INFO

 Local Page
 RMT Schedule
 VA EAS PAGE
 

EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM PROCEDURES
FOR

THE ROANOKE EXTENDED OPERATIONAL AREA

Serving the Counties of Alleghany, Amherst, Appomattox, Bath, Bedford, Botetourt, Campbell, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Henry, Highland, Montgomery, Patrick, Roanoke, Rockbridge, and Pulaski, and the cities of Bedford, Buena Vista, Clifton Forge, Covington, Lexington, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Radford, Roanoke, and Salem, the Roanoake Extended Operational Area Emergency Alert System operates under the direction of the Roanoake Extended Operational Area Emergency Communications Committee, a local component of the Virginia State Emergency Communications Committee, as established by the Federal Communications Commission, and in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Administration , the National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Emergency Services.


Notice: This web version of the Local Area Plan may differ slightly from the official version in format and content. The printed version IS the governing document. Version 12-29-1999


1. INTRODUCTION

This plan provides specific procedures for the broadcast media and cable systems to disseminate emergency information and warning to the general public in the ROANOKE EXTENDED OPERATIONAL AREA or any portion thereof within the stations' broadcast coverage capability at the request of designated local, state and federal officials. This local EAS plan may be activated on a day-to-day basis in response to such emergencies as: floods, power outages, civil disorders, earthquakes, winter storms/heavy snows, hazardous materials incidents, tornadoes, or any occurrence which poses a danger to life and/or property.

Acceptance of or participation in this plan shall not be deemed as a relinquishment of program control, and shall not be deemed to prohibit a broadcast licensee from exercising his independent discretion and responsibility in any given station. Stations originating emergency communications shall be deemed to have conferred rebroadcast authority. The management concept of each broadcast station to exercise discretion regarding broadcast of emergency information and instructions to the general public is provided by Part 11 of the Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations.

II. SITUATIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS

A. Situation
  1. Broadcast radio and TV stations are mainly privately-owned corporations using the public "air waves" and operating in the public interest. One aspect of this public interest is to allow these facilities to be used by responsible government officials to communicate with the public in time of impending or actual emergency. Such a system, as prescribed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is called the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

  2. Currently 74 radio, 7 television stations, 5 low power television stations and 37 cable system head ends make up the Roanoke Extended Operational Area EAS system. Area stations monitor the Local Primary (LP-1) station and also monitor the LP 2,3,or 4 station.

B. Assumptions
All Roanoke Operational Area stations licensed or operating under Program Test Authority by the FCC must have an approved EAS monitor. To prevent unauthorized entry, special precautions are necessary and have been taken. The EAS monitors in each stations are utilized to provide a common statewide program source.

III. AUTHORITY

Title 47 C.F.R. part 11, Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations, Emergency Broadcast System (EAS).

IV. DEFINITIONS

  • SR (State Relay) Stations that relay State Emergency Network alerts to the LP stations.
  • LP (Local Primary) The Roanoke Operational Area has 4 LP stations which are numbered 1 thru 4 in order of their responsibility. ie. LP-1 has primary responsibility. If the LP-1 does not react, the responsibility moves to the LP-2 station and so on.
  • PN (Participating National) Most broadcasters and cable operators are designated as "PN". These stations will remain on the air during a National Emergency.
  • NN (Non-Participating National) Broadcasters who hold an "NN Authorization" from the FCC are required to sign off the air during a National Emergency. NOAA (NOAA WEATHER RADIO) The National Weather Service operates this radio system. NOAA stations encode all of their alerts using the same coding protocol as that used for EAS Alerts. Broadcasters and cable operators can feed their EAS decoders with the audio from any NOAA Weather Radio receiver, and their EAS decoder will react just as it does with broadcaster EAS codes.

V. ORIGINATING STATIONS - LOCAL PRIMARY STATIONS (LP)

  1. Updated 6/22/06 to agree with state plan. wdf.
    
    A. The originating station (LP-1) for the Roanoke Operational Area is WSLQ 99.1 MHZ in Roanoke. WSLQ operates 24 hours per day and is protected by standby emergency power generators. All broadcast stations and cable systems in the operational area are required to have a properly functioning EAS monitor (receiver and decoder) in operation. All stations and cable systems will monitor WSLQ.

  2. B. There are 3 alternate originating stations for the Roanoke Operational Area. These stations are located in different sections of the area to allow additional local entry points to the system for events more local in nature. Stations and cable systems will be assigned one of these stations to monitor based on their location.
    • The LP-2 station is WROV 96.3 MHZ in Roanoke. In the event of a failure at WSLQ, WROV would assume control duties. WROV operates 24 hours a day and is protected by standby emergency power generators.
    • The LP-3 station is WRVL 88.3 MHZ in Lynchburg. WRVL operates 24 hours per day.
    • The LP-4 station is WNRV 101.7 MHZ in Radford. WNRV operates 24 hours per day and is protected by standby emergency power generators.

VI. IMPLEMENTATION

A. AUTHENTICATION
These procedures are confidential.
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NOTE: National Weather Service (NWS) weather warnings received via NOAA weather radio, NOAA weather wire, or AP/UPI will not require additional authentication.

B. PROCEDURES FOR DESIGNATED OFFICIALS
These procedures are confidential.
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C. PROCEDURES FOR BROADCAST STATIONS
  1. RWT Required Weekly Test

    No script is required for the RWT.
    Entire test takes about 10.5 seconds.

    1. Stop regular programming
    2. Optional Announcement to audience identifying EAS data tones as part of EAS test)
    3. One second pause
    4. Send EAS Header Code 3 times (Use RWT Event Code for this test)
    5. One second pause
    6. Send EAS End of Message Code 3 times
    7. One second pause
    8. Resume normal programming

  2. RMT Required Monthly Test

    LP stations who originate this test should use the following format. All other broadcasters and cable operators will receive the test in this format, and must re-transmit it within 15 minutes of recept in the same format.

    1. Stop regular programming
    2. Intro: "This is a test of the Roanoke Extended Operational Area Emergency Alert System."
    3. One second pause
    4. Send EAS Header Code 3 times (Use RMT Event Code for this test and include all FIPS codes for all jurisdictions in the operational area)
    5. One second pause
    6. Send EAS Attention Signal (8 to 25 seconds)
    7. Read Test script: (ATTACHMENT 2)
    8. One second pause
    9. Send EAS End of Message Code 3 times.
    10. One second pause
    11. Resume normal programming

    Timing Note: This test will be designed to time to approximately 58 seconds to accommodate standard avails for television.

    Note: The monthly testing schedule is set during the month of November prior to the year of concern. Test are generally sent during the first full week of each month and are originated by the LP-1 and LP-2 on a rotating basis.

  3. Actual Activation by LP Station

    1. Stop Regular Programming
    2. Optional Intro: "We interrupt our regular programming to activate the Roanoke Emergency Alert System. Important information will follow".
    3. One second pause
    4. Send EAS Header Code 3 times (Use appropriate Event Code)
    5. One second pause
    6. Send EAS Attention Signal (8 to 25 seconds )
    7. Activation Announcement: "We interrupt our regular programming to activate the Roanoke Emergency Alert System. The (ORIGINATING AGENCY), has issued (TYPE OF ALERT) for (LOCALITIES) effective until (TIME)".
    8. Broadcast Emergency Message (give additional information and action required). REPEAT. Please be concise. (Note: systems downstream can only store a 2 minute message for rebroadcast. Any information past that time will be lost.)
    9. Termination Announcement: "This is the Roanoke Emergency Alert System".
    10. One second pause
    11. Send EAS End of Message Code 3 times
    12. One second pause
    13. Resume normal programming

  4. Procedure for STATE Alert

    When a State activation is received by LP-1, LP-2 LP-3 or LP-4 from a SR (State Relay), the LP will interrupt programming and repeat the message.

    1. Stop Regular Programming
    2. Optional Intro: "We interrupt our regular programming to activate the Roanoke Emergency Alert System. Important information will follow".
    3. One second pause.
    4. Send EAS Header Code 3 times (Use appropriate Event Code)
    5. One second pause
    6. Send EAS Attention Signal (8 to 25 seconds )
    7. Activation Announcement: Repeat announcement received from LP
    8. One second pause
    9. Send EAS End of Message Code 3 times
    10. One second pause
    11. Resume normal programming

  5. Procedure for National Weather Service Alert

    Stations may repeat any warning they deem necessary to serve their public. The Virginia Emergency Planning Committee strongly recommends stations repeat Tornado Warnings (TOR) and Flash Flood Warnings (FFW) as these can cause possible loss of life or property with little warning.

    1. Stop Regular Programming
    2. Optional Intro: "We interrupt our regular programming to activate the Roanoke Emergency Alert System. Important information will follow".
    3. One second pause
    4. Repeat EAS Header Code 3 times (Use appropriate Event Code)
    5. One second pause
    6. Send EAS Attention Signal (8 to 25 seconds )
    7. Activation Announcement: Repeat announcement received from NOAA.
    8. One second pause
    9. Send EAS End of Message Code 3 times
    10. One second pause
    11. Resume normal programming

 

VII. MONITORING ASSIGNMENTS

See attached

VIII. RECOMMENDED STATION OPERATION PROCEDURES

A. Staff Training
The success of this plan will hinge entirely upon all broadcast personnel understanding its implementation. Operating staff on duty at a station during a weather warning or other emergency, which justifies activation of the emergency broadcast system, must be properly trained. A copy of this plan alone cannot possibly be considered adequate for your personnel to use as a guide at the time of an activation nor can you depend upon their remembering what to do after studying this plan. This plan must be applied as appropriate for each individual station. Therefore, a clear, concise, step-by-step procedure should be readily available for your operating personnel to use at the time of emergency. This is absolutely necessary if this plan is to be successful. Stations should then hold periodic training sessions for operators to insure that all personnel are capable of performing the procedures.
B. Equipment
  1. It is recommended that EAS receiver encoder be in the station air chain. This will reduce the steps necessary to implement an EAS activation and also permit automatic operation. Placement of the EAS encoder/decoder is critical. It must be placed where regular station personnel will hear it, should it activate, anytime the station is operating.

  2. It is recommended that stations utilize the automatic mode whenever possible to assure prompt delivery of warnings.

C. Recommended Alert Event Coding
Per FCC rules, stations are required to react to National level activations. Participation in Local and State emergencies is requested. The Virginia Emergency Planning Committee recommends that stations set the following event codes for EAS activation in addition of the National coding:
  • TOR Tornado Warning
  • FFW Flash Flood Warning
  • CEM Civil Emergency

At this time any emergency other than a National or Weather alert will be coded as a CEM. ie: hazardous spill, earthquake, nuclear power plant alert.


ANNEX A

DESIGNATED OFFICIALS TO ACTIVATE EAS
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alternate link for authorized access.

ANNEX B

BROADCAST STATIONS
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ANNEX C

CABLE
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