The first U.S. nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place on Wednesday, November 9, at 1:00 PM (Central Standard Time). Conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), this test may last up to three and a half minutes.
The EAS is a national alert and warning system which enables the President of the United States to address the public during emergencies. Local and State EAS systems are tested regularly; however there has never been a single nationwide test. This alert will include broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services, and wire line video service.
FEMA, the FCC, and NOAA’s vision for improving the EAS is incremental, which means testing the readiness and effectiveness of the EAS as it currently exists today is the first step. A more effective and functional EAS requires continual testing to identify necessary improvements so that all levels of the system can better serve our communities and deliver critical information that will save lives and property.
EAS Participants provide a critical public service to the nation as the resilient backbone of alert and warning when all other means of communication are unavailable.
The nationwide EAS Test is not a pass or fails measure, nor will it specifically test Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) compliant equipment (although CAP compliant equipment should pass the Emergency Action Notification [EAN] live-code in the same manner as legacy EAS equipment).
During the November 9th test, the public will hear an audio message stating “This is a test,” which will be the same for radio and television. Due to limitations of the EAS, the video test message may not be the same. In some instances, the background image that appears on a television may indicate “this is a test” but in other cases there may be no image at all.
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The public is encouraged to share this information with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to reduce the potential for increased calls to local police and fire departments or to 9-1-1.