(Washington, DC) – On November 9, 2011 at 2 pm Eastern Standard Time, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) test.
The Test may look like a regular local EAS test that most people are already familiar with, but there will be some differences in what viewers will see and hear. The audio message will repeat “This is a test.” The video message scroll may not indicate “This is a test.” The message will last for approximately three minutes and then regularly scheduled programming will resume.
The purpose of the Test is to assess the readiness and effectiveness of the EAS and identify incremental improvements to better serve our communities in the preservation of life and property. Although the EAS is frequently used by State and local governments to send weather alerts and other emergencies, there has never been a national activation of the system.
The National-level EAS is a public alert and warning system that enables the President of the United States to address the American public during extreme emergencies. Similar to local EAS tests that are conducted frequently, the Nationwide Test will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite and digital radio and television services and wireline providers across all states and territories who ensure the system is at a constant state of readiness.
Over the past two years and as a part of ongoing national preparedness planning efforts, FEMA, the FCC and other Federal partners, State, local, tribal and territorial governments, EAS participants, and others in the EAS community have been working toward making this test a reality.
As the Federal, State, tribal, territorial and local governments prepare for and test their capabilities, this event serves as a reminder that everyone should prepare an emergency preparedness go-kit and have an emergency plan for themselves, their families, communities and business. Visit www.72hours.dc.gov for more information about how to prepare for and stay informed about what to do in the event of an actual emergency. To learn more about the EAS Test visit the FEMA IPAWS website www.fema.gov/emergency/ipaws/eas_info.shtm.
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