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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designed the Emergency Alert System (EAS) as a tool for officials to quickly send important emergency information targeted to a specific area. After conducting extensive tests of competing technologies, the FCC ruled that EAS would be a digital-based automated system and use coding protocols similar to the NOAA Weather Radio Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME).
EAS sends out alerts not only to broadcast media, but to cable television, satellites, pagers, Direct Broadcast Satellite, High Definition Television, and Video Dial Tone. EAS also accounts for the needs of special populations such as the hearing impaired and individuals with differing language requirements.
While the NOAA Weather Radio SAME is the National Weather Service’s primary entry into EAS, the public can receive EAS messages via radio and TV stations, and other media. FCC rules require broadcasters to monitor at least two independent sources for emergency information, ensuring that emergency information is received and delivered to viewers and listeners.
Many areas of Ohio have a network of outdoor emergency alert sirens to aid in early notification of weather emergencies. The sirens are designed as an outdoor warning system and may not always be audible in densely populated areas or indoors. The siren systems are activated locally and are designed to alert area residents of threatening conditions. On flat terrain with no wind, most sirens can be heard up to one mile away over normal background noise. Local systems are tested regularly.
For additional information on Ohio’s Emergency Alert System, contact the Ohio Emergency Management Agency at (614) 799-3642 or contact your local emergency management agency to verify your county’s participation in the statewide tornado drill/siren testing.
For more information on the NWS Emergency Alert System visit