The last-minute scramble is upon us. The EAS system is adding a new layer of information, called CAP (Common Alerting Protocol).

CAP-compliant gear must be in place by September 30, 2011. (the date has been extended to June 30, 2012.)

What’s this all about?

Under the existing EAS system, participants are assigned to monitor one or more local sources of EAS alert messages. This will be some combination of radio, TV, weather or public service broadcasts. When an alert is received, your EAS decoder determines if the message is intended for your coverage area, then switches the message to your transmitter.

The new CAP 1.2 requirement adds another monitoring source. This one is not over-the-air broadcast audio. It’s an internet connection. The CAP circuitry is built into current EAS encoder/decoder units from Sage and Digital Alert Systems. There are also add-on boxes that receive only the CAP information, and pass it on to your existing EAS gear. We carry CAP converters by TFT and Gorman-Redlich.

Your equipment will check the local CAP server frequently (every 30 seconds or so) to see if any alerts are available. When it finds one, it will be downloaded, and examined to determine if it applies to your coverage area. The CAP message will always contain text, and may additionally include pictures or mp3 audio files. If an mp3 audio file is present, it will be sent through your EAS gear, and out to the transmitter. If there is no mp3 audio file, the text will be converted to speech by your CAP unit, and the resulting audio will then be sent out.

CAP is not optional… if you are currently required to carry EAS alerts, you are required to be CAP-compliant by September 30, 2011 June 30, 2012.

Now you have a better understanding of what’s going on. Decide if you will add-on to your existing EAS gear, or replace it with a new all-in-one unit. Then give us a call. Don’t wait until the last minute… get your order in now. The clock is ticking.

Here are some links:
http://www.bswusa.com/eas.asp
http://www.bswusa.com/browse_subcat.asp?category=eassystems
http://www.bswusa.com/searchresult.asp?searchType=category&subcat=eas-ed

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