Starting in January 2019, Emergency Alert Systems will be required to have the ability to deliver Blue Alerts as a new, event code. Blue alerts are an event code to issue a warning about an imminent and credible threat to police officers’ safety across radio and television stations.
The FCC final rule finds “…that the EAS is an effective mechanism for the delivery of Blue Alerts. The City of New York (NYC) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) observe that issuing a Blue Alert via the EAS will provide the public with the opportunity to protect themselves and their families and to report relevant information to law enforcement, thus facilitating the apprehension of suspects who are alleged to pose an imminent threat to law enforcement officers.”
Read more on the rule here: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-170A1.pdf
In a discussion with Harold Price from Sage Alerting Systems, we found out more about the change and how it affects our customers.
While the ruling makes it mandatory for EAS to have the ability to deliver the alerts, it’s up to individual radio stations if they would like to transmit these alerts. Stations should seek guidance from their state and local EAS plan.
If a station chooses to participate, the new codes will work just like any other alert.
If you are already using Sage and are registered to receive their emails, you will get an email when the update is available. (To add yourself to their mailing list, send an email to email@example.com with the subject ‘ADD’.)
You can also check their website sagealertingsystems.com. The latest on the Sage site regarding this change says, “Sage will make a free software update available to support Blue Alerts. You should make no configuration changes at this time.”