Emergency Management

Emergency Alert System

Most people are familiar with the Emergency Alert System because of test broadcasts that interrupt their favorite radio station programming or TV show with jarring tones and the announcement "This is a test."

While those interruptions can be inconvenient, they are important and can carry lifesaving warnings about hazardous conditions in the local broadcast area.

EAS is designed to allow government authorities to notify the public of impending emergencies via voluntary cooperation of the broadcast media. The federal government requires broadcast stations to carry announcements by the president during times of national emergency, but all other EAS functions are voluntary, carried out as part of the industry's public service effects.

Many broadcast stations and all cable TV systems today are automated and designed for unattended operation. EAS is designed to operate using automated equipment. Those tones that start and end each message are designed to get the attention of human listeners, but also to trigger EAS receivers and relay the message.

As indicated above, the National Weather Service is the most frequent user of EAS. That is appropriate because most of the potential emergencies in Washington are weather-related. Severe winter storms, floods, and thunderstorms, can be life threatening and the weather service (link to weather section) can provide advance warning. But EAS could be used with any type of natural or manmade emergency.

The newest use for EAS is for child abduction emergencies, known in many states as Amber Alerts. Child abduction alerts are intended to enlist the public's help in locating a kidnapped child in cases where the child's life is believed to be in danger. There is specific criteria which must be met before an Amber Alert can be issued. In a child abduction case, the request to use the system must come from the investigating police department and be approved by the Washington State Patrol.

Local Radio Stations which participate in the EAS

Moses Lake



KDRM FM           

KBSN AM          

KWIQ FM         

KWIQ AM          


KULE FM            

KULE AM             



KWWW FM         

KWNC  AM         



Spanish Radio Stations which participate in the EAS

Royal City/Othello


KRCW FM           KWLN FM         

KRSC AM          


KZML FM           

KWNC  AM        




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