Thursday, November 3, 2011

This Is Only a Test: Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert System Scheduled for November 9

The first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will occur on November 9, 2011, at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time/11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.  The test will last approximately three minutes and is being conducted jointly by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Weather Service.

The Emergency Alert System is designed to transmit, via TV and radio, emergency alerts and warnings regarding weather threats, child abductions and other types of emergencies to the American public from national, state and local agencies.

he test will specifically assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS to alert the public, and also identify any areas for improvements in the operation of the system during an emergency.  While state and local tests already take place weekly and monthly, a simultaneous, nationwide test of the national EAS "emergency action notification" code has never occurred. EAS participants, including broadcast radio and television, cable television, satellite radio and television and wireline video services, all are required to participate in the test.  Following the test, all EAS participants must report test results to the FCC within 45 days, including whether, and from whom, they received the alert message and whether they disseminated it.

Remember the old saying, "This is only a test. If this had been an actual emergency..."

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