|Instructions and EAS Information can be found at: www.sbe24.org/eas/
WISCONSIN AMBER ALERT PLAN
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
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
With these precautions, the Wisc Amber Alert Committee feels our system
will be sound.
All state Law Enforcement Agencies will receive the Law Enforcement Amber
Alert Training Video and SOP from Wisconsin DOJ on requesting an Amber
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
Preparing to participate in Amber:
EAS Amber Alert Operation:
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: www.sbe24.org/eas/encode.asp
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.
You must program your EAS Unit to re-broadcast Amber Alerts, as follows:
Originator Code: CIV, Civil Authorities
Event Code: CAE, Child Abduction Emergency
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.
Mode: Use Automatic Mode if you are unattended, or want immediate forwarding.
Use Manual Mode if you want to preview alerts before forwarding them.
Join alert list. Send newsroom fax and e-mail to: email@example.com
Distribute WBA Amber Alert informational materials to your staff.
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.
A current copy of this Wisconsin Amber Alert Plan will be maintained
at the website, www.AmberAlertWisconsin.org
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
2. Here’s what you need to do to upgrade your EAS equipment:
We use the EAS System for the broadcast alerts.
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
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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
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.