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Nationwide Emergency Alert System

Published Nov. 6, 2011 @ 9:23 a.m.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test Nov. 9, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. central standard time. The alert will be transmitted throughout the country.  The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system in alerting the public and it will last approximately 3 minutes.

Although local and state components of the Emergency Alert System are tested on a weekly and monthly basis, there has never been an end-to-end nationwide test of the system. This type of testing will determine whether the system will work as intended should public safety officials ever need to send an alert or warning to a large region of the United States.

Although the nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) test may resemble the periodic monthly EAS tests that most consumers are familiar with, there will be some differences in what consumers may see or hear, which is one reason for conducting a nationwide test. During the test, the public will hear a message indicating “this is a test." The audio message will be the same for everyone, however due to limitations of the Emergency Alert System, the video test message may not be the same and may not indicate “this is a test."  Also, the background image that appears on video screens may indicate “this is a test” but in some cases there may be no image at all.

The test will involve only those communications service providers – broadcast radio and television, cable television, satellite radio and television and wireline video services – that participate in the Emergency Alert System.

For more information, click here to visit the EAS webpage.

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