Instructions and EAS Information can be found at:

Guidance for Broadcasters and Cable Systems
by Gary Timm

Below is EAS Encoder programming info.  WBA will be sending this info out to all stations soon, but thought I'd pass it along now.

Amber is Voluntary:
Participating in the Amber Alert System is voluntary, as is participation in all other Local and State EAS alerts.  Every Wisconsin broadcaster and cable operator is encouraged to participate in the Amber Alert System.  All Amber Alerts are sent as full EAS messages, thus allowing unattended broadcast and cable operations to forward the alerts with no human intervention required.

A Reliable System:
The Wisconsin Amber Alert Committee, with full sensitivity to the impact of broadcast emergency messages, is making every effort to ensure that the Amber Alert System in Wisconsin does not get over-used or misused for improper activations.

  • All state Law Enforcement Agencies will receive the Law Enforcement Amber Alert Training Video and SOP from Wisconsin DOJ on requesting an Amber Alert activation.
  • There is one central point of contact in Madison that will issue all Amber Alerts for Wisconsin.  They will ensure that any alert issued meets the strict criteria adopted by the state Amber Alert Committee.
  • All Amber Alert activations will be reviewed for appropriateness and smooth operation of the system by a broadcaster/law enforcement Amber Alert Review Committee.
With these precautions, the Wisc Amber Alert Committee feels our system will be sound.

Preparing to participate in Amber:

  1. Your EAS Unit must be upgraded to include the new EAS Event Code “CAE”, Child Abduction Emergency.  For details on the availability of an upgrade for your EAS Unit, visit the Wisconsin EAS Committee webpage:
  2. You will receive Amber Alerts from the EAS State Relay (SR) station that you are already monitoring for EAS, so no additional monitoring will be needed.  See map in Appendix B of Amber Plan for reference to these relay stations.  You will notice on this map that the nine “Amber Alert Areas” match exactly the nine existing EAS Local Areas.
  3. You must program your EAS Unit to re-broadcast Amber Alerts, as follows:
    1. Originator Code: CIV, Civil Authorities
    2. Event Code: CAE, Child Abduction Emergency
    3. Location Code: 055000, Entire State of Wisconsin [EXCEPT TFT USERS, SEE NOTE BELOW]  Although Wisconsin Amber Alerts will be issued using a State Code Sub-Division, most EAS Units recognize that this sub-division is a part of the entire state, and will thus react to all sub-division codes when programmed for the entire state.  [TFT USERS: You MUST program in the specific Sub-Division Code for your Amber/EAS Local Area.  See map in Appendix B of Wisconsin Amber Plan for those codes.]  All users note that the SR stations will only broadcast Amber Alerts for the Amber/EAS Local Area in which they are located.  Thus, you will not receive alerts from out of your area, because those alerts will be filtered out by the SR station.
    4. Mode: Use Automatic Mode if you are unattended, or want immediate forwarding.  Use Manual Mode if you want to preview alerts before forwarding them.
  4. Join alert list.  Send newsroom fax and e-mail to:
  5. Distribute WBA Amber Alert informational materials to your staff.
EAS Amber Alert Operation:
Wisconsin Amber EAS Alerts will be sent every 30 minutes for the first two hours, then once an hour for the next three hours.  See Section V. of Wisconsin Amber Alert Plan for details.  All eight of these alerts will be full EAS Alerts, to enable unmanned stations and Cable TV to participate.  After the initial Amber Alert, manned stations that prefer to read subsequent alerts live may abort received Amber Alert re-broadcasts.  However, stations selecting this option should check the Amber Alert website after each re-broadcast to be certain new details have not been added to the alert, prior to resuming their own live Amber Alerts.

Staying up-to-date:
A current copy of this Wisconsin Amber Alert Plan will be maintained at the website,   Further, any routine updates regarding the operation of the Wisconsin Amber Alert Plan will be distributed through the Amber Alert E-Mail List that is used in issuing Amber Alerts.  To sign up for this list, forward your fax and e-mail contact information to:

How the Wisconsin Amber System works
What you need to do to upgrade your equipment
Annual statewide tests of the Amber System

1. Here’s how the system works:

  1. We use the EAS System for the broadcast alerts.
  2. You can program your EAS equipment to automatically broadcast alerts; or, you can automatically broadcast the 1st alert and then manually deliver the broadcast messages after that; or manually deliver all of the Amber messages.
  3. The Dane Co. 911 Center is the activator of the Amber Alert System, double-checking the reports of local law enforcement agencies, assuring program guidelines are met. They have the ability to regionalize the message delivery so that parts of the State that are not affected will not receive the message.
  4. Wisconsin Public Radio will receive the Dane Co. 911 message and  will automatically relay it to the 10 primary EAS stations using the new Child Abduction Emergency code approved by the FCC.
  5. The 10 primary stations will send the message out to all broadcast stations that monitor them (unless the message is regionalized and does not include some areas of the State.)
  6. The EAS Amber Alert message will be sent out once each ½ hour for the first 2 hours and once each hour for the next 3 hours (a total of 8 messages) with messages updated if new information becomes available.
2. Here’s what you need to do to upgrade your EAS equipment:

We encourage all broadcasters to participate in Amber Alert.  To do so your EAS receiving equipment must be upgraded to receive the Child Abduction Emergency Code.  Your equipment will have been made by one of 6 EAS receiver manufacturers.  Each has either made (or will soon make) available the necessary upgrades for their equipment.  Your engineers or technicians can go to the following web page to determine the status of your equipment manufacturer’s upgrade and how to access its availability:

3. Annual statewide tests

The Wisconsin Amber Alert System will be tested once each year, during the week of May 25th, which is National Missing Children’s Day.  The actual CAE, Child Abduction Emergency Code, will be used for the test.  Broadcasters and cable systems may either make note of the reception of this test and then abort it without re-broadcasting it, or they may elect to broadcast the test as a public awareness tool.  The audio portions of the test will state that it is a test. However, the visual “crawl message” will indicate that a Child Abduction Emergency exists.  Therefore, TV stations and cable operations that carry the test should ensure that the visual background behind the crawl message says, “This is a test.”    This will ensure that the hearing-impaired, or just someone with TV sound turned down, will not mistake the test for an actual alert.