Promoting the Wider Use and Increased Accessibility of the Emergency Alert System

Federal Communications Commission
Thursday, August 27, 2015
1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

1:00 p.m. – 1:05 p.m. Welcome

  • Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn

1:05 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. Opening Remarks

  • David G. Simpson, Rear Admiral (Ret.) USN, Chief, PSHSB, FCC

1:10 p.m. – 2:10 p.m. Session 1: Leveraging the Value Proposition of the EAS and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for State and Local Emergency Managers in Incident Response and Training

  • Case Study 1: This use case will discuss how emergency alerting, in combination with the 911 system, can enable two-way, life-saving information to flow between people in a subway train stuck in a tunnel and emergency services personnel. Elizabeth Dexter and Jennifer Meyers, Watch Officers, Arlington Emergency Communications Center (ECC)
  • Case Study 2: This use case will discuss how a Public Safety Answering Point’s (PSAP) use of alerts can help defuse a chaotic situation resulting from a false alarm about an “active shooter” at an elementary school. Jay English, Director-Comm Center & 911 Services, Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International, Inc. (APCO)
  • Case Study 3: This use case will discuss how a test of the EAS using a live tsunami event code could be leveraged into a full public safety exercise through outreach and coordination of government alerting and 911 functions. Bryan Fisher, Chief of Operations for Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and Dennis Bookey, Vice President, Kodiak Island Broadcasting, State of Alaska Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) Co-chair (Live remote from Anchorage, Alaska)

2:10 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. Break

2:20 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. Session 2: Promoting Wider Use of EAS
This panel will discuss measures to increase the flexibility of the EAS to expand its use by emergency managers at the state and local levels, including expanded use of the WEA system by PSAPs for localized alerts and exercises.
Moderator: Greg Cooke, Associate Division Chief, Policy & Licensing Division, PSHSB


  • Jay English, Director, Comm Center & 911 Services, APCO
  • Wade Witmer, Deputy Director, Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Division, Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Steve Souder, Director, Fairfax County, VA Department of Public Safety Communications and Chair of the PSAP Task Force
  • Suzanne Goucher, President & CEO, Maine Association of Broadcasters, Chair, Maine State Emergency Communications Committee, Chair, Joint National Association of Broadcasters-National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NAB-NASBA) EAS Committee

3:20 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. Break

3:25 p.m. – 4:25 p.m. Session 3: Promoting EAS Accessibility
This panel will discuss potential ways to improve alert accessibility, including synchronicity of EAS audio with the EAS visual crawl and the readiness of Text-to-Speech technology for usage in national and local alerting.

Moderator: Suzy Rosen Singleton, Attorney Advisor, Disability Rights Office, CGB


  • Christian Vogler, PhD, Associate Professor at the Department of Art, Communication and Theatre, and Director, Technology Access Program, Gallaudet University
  • Lillian McDonald, Managing Director – Twin Cities Public Television/ECHO Minnesota Partnership (Multilingual alerting project)
  • Charles W. McCobb, Program Manager DHS III, IPAWS Program Office /NCP, DHS-FEMA
  • Zainab Alkebsi, Esq., Policy Counsel, National Association of the Deaf

4:25 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Concluding Remarks

  • Lisa M. Fowlkes, Deputy Chief, PSHSB, FCC

Registration and Attendance: The workshop will be open to the public but will be limited to the seating available. Individuals who wish to preregister may contact John A. Evanoff at [email protected] or 202-418-0848. Those who pre-register will be asked to provide their name, title, organization affiliation, and contact information. All attendees are advised to arrive approximately 30 minutes prior to the start of the workshop to allow time to go through our security process.

Webcast: The Commission will provide audio and/or video coverage of the workshop over the Internet from the FCC’s Web page at

Questions: The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions. Those following the live stream will also have the opportunity to ask questions during the event via email at [email protected]. Depending on the volume of questions and time constraints, session moderators will work to respond to as many questions as possible during the workshop.