An Emergency Action Notification (SAME code: EAN) is the national activation of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and can only be activated by the President or their representative (i.e. the Vice President). The Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) also carried the Emergency Action Notification. It has never been used by any President since its creation.
Unlike other messages, the EAN is not the alert itself, but rather a notice that the activation is beginning. After the End of Message (EOM) tones are sent, normal programming does not resume. Instead, most stations will broadcast emergency information in a specific priority order. Messages from the President are always broadcast first. Next comes local messages, statewide and regional messages, and finally national messages not originating from the President (some documents refer to these as "messages from the National Information Center (or NIC)". While there is a SAME code for this type of message (NIC), there exists no FCC definition of the National Information Center) . When an EAN is initially received, and during any time a new message is not available, an FCC mandated standby script is to be used (and repeated). Other stations, which hold special permission from the FCC, will sign off until the end of the EAN. Normal programming cannot resume until the transmission of an Emergency Action Termination message (SAME code: EAT).
The order of broadcast
- Presidential message (For example, an air attack warning or presidential address)
- Reports from local, state or regional authorities (such as of fallout or aid)
- National Information Center
The term "Emergency Action Notification" was created when the Emergency Broadcast System went into place in 1963. Before the mid-1970s, this was the only non-test activation permitted (the same rule also applied to the earlier CONELRAD system). The EAN signifies of a national emergency, as the wording shows. The Office of Civil Defense originally created the term for the national emergency notification enactment. FEMA soon took over after its creation.