Perhaps you’ve wondered about the “brap-brap-brap” tones you’ve heard coming from your radio on occasion. Those are digitally encoded messages sent by your local Radio and TV stations as part of the Emergency Alert System. EAS, which replaced the old Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1997, is a cooperative effort between broadcast stations, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and various local officials, designed to alert the public of severe weather, child abductions, nuclear disasters, and other imminent danger.
You’ll hear the tones each week as stations are required to test the system. Tests are typically preceeded by an announcement stating “this is only a test.”
Although the “specially tuned radios” you hear about during the test are not generally available to the public in local retail stores, they can be purchased from MTS Communications in North Carolina: MTS Communications – EAS Radios
For more more information on EAS, visit any of the following sites:
Basic Information on the Emergency Alert System
Federal Communications Commission – EAS Information
Federal Emergency Management Agency – EAS Information
Federal Emergency Management Agency – IPAWS