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Nationwide EAS Test- Report now available

Download Report

2014 Tornado Drill

The annual Virginia/NWS Statewide Tornado drill will be conducted on March 11th at approximately 9:45 AM.

As in the past, the National Weather Service will initiate a tornado warning using the EAS code TOR. This tornado warning will be relayed by radio, television, cable, cellular and internet alerting systems throughout the Commonwealth. Hopefully, within minutes, everyone in the state will be aware that something is going on and they need to pay attention.

We have been granted a waiver to send the TOR code instead of an RMT.

Please note the alternate date for the tornado drill had to be pushed to Thursday March 13th instead of the following day. This alternate date will only be needed should the weather service deem a postponement necessary due to severe weather in the state around the time of the test.

Also, the switch to Daylight Savings Time will occur this coming Sunday (3/9/2014) and while most of the EAS units have been replaced with systems that now handle the current DST/ST schedule, please be sure all systems are set to the correct UCT offset and local time. .




IPAWS TRAINING AVAILABLE

It 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.

IPAWS IS-247.a TRAINING.



AMBER ALERTS

There 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:

  • At least every 15 minutes for the first two hours
  • Every 30 minutes for the next three hours.
  • After five hours, hourly updates for the next 7 hours or as appropriate

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.

State EAS Plan
State Amber Website current alert info
State Amber Plan
Missing Children


Click Here for current alerts
Participating Stations are encouraged to place the AMBER logo on their station website with a link to the Virginia AMBER website. This will make it easy for your announcers to quickly obtain AMBER information and will identify your station to the public as an AMBER station. If a photograph is available you can point your listeners to this link.


ALTERNATE PEP EAN ALERTS

NPR, 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

click here
Click here to view the animated State Relay Network map to see how it is supposed to work.


 
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