The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in November 1994. Using new digital technology, the EAS replaced the old Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) as a tool to warn the public about emergencies.

The most common use of the EAS is by the National Weather Service to warn local communities about severe weather warnings. You have probably heard radio stations interrupt their programming to broadcast a tornado warning or seen a TV station or cable system run a “crawl” across the bottom of the TV screen about a severe thunderstorm. That’s EAS.

EAS can be activated nationally by the President, statewide by a Governor, or locally by authorized city or county officials for other emergencies, ranging from earthquakes to forest fires or hazardous materials releases to nuclear war.

Review the list of State and Local EAS Plan websites

If your state or local area is not listed, you can e-mail the FCC to request:

• The name, address, and telephone number of the SECC or LECC Chairman for your geographic area
• The contact person and call letters of the Local Primary stations that serve your geographic area
• A copy of your Local EAS Plan to find out if EAS can be activated for reports about abducted children

You can call the FCC’s Emergency Alert System office at 202-418-1100