Millions of Americans – with and without disabilities – rely on emergency alerts over their televisions and radios to receive important and potentially life-saving information.
What is the Emergency Alert System (EAS)?
EAS is a national public warning system. Various communications service providers (including radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) are required to make their transmission facilities available to the President to address the public if needed during a national emergency. These service providers also are required to deliver national test alerts and conduct weekly and monthly tests of the system.
EAS is also used by state and local authorities to deliver other important information, such as severe weather alerts and child abduction (AMBER) alerts. EAS participants deliver state and local alerts on a voluntary but widespread basis.
The FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) implement the EAS at the federal level. Authorized federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial authorities create alerts. The FCC does not create or transmit EAS alerts.
How do I know if a National-level televised alert has met the FCC's accessibility requirements for EAS?
The alert must comply with the FCC's visual and audio requirements.
EAS visual requirements:
- Text must be displayed:
- At the top of the television screen or where it will not interfere with other visual messages (e.g., closed captioning),
- In a manner (i.e., font size, color, contrast, location, and speed) that is readily readable and understandable,
- Without overlapping lines or extending beyond the viewable display (except for video crawls that intentionally scroll on and off of the screen), and
- In full at least once during any EAS message.
EAS audio requirements:
- Broadcast stations, cable systems, and Direct Broadcast Satellite services must play the audio portion of an EAS message in full at least once to ensure it is accessible to viewers who are blind or have low vision.
Who do I contact at the FCC if I have concerns about the accessibility of televised emergency alert tests and other EAS alerts?
Submit a complaint through the Consumer Complaint Center at www.fcc.gov/accessibilitycomplaintform or contact the FCC's Disability Rights Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-418-2517 (voice), or 844-432-2275 (videophone).