For the first time ever, the federal government will launch a nationwide test of the emergency alert broadcast system Wednesday, November 9th, 2011.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
The nationwide test will occur on Wednesday, November 9th at 1pm (2pm Eastern Time) and may last up to three and a half minutes. The public will hear a message indicating that “This is a test.” The audio message will be the same for radio, television, and cable.
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 radio and television services and wire line providers across the states and territories.
Over the past two years and as part of ongoing national preparedness planning efforts, FEMA, the FCC and other Federal partners, State and Local, tribal and territorial governments, EAS Participants, and others in the EAS Community have been working toward making this test a reality.
This event serves as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves, their families, communities and businesses. Anyone can visit www.Ready.gov for more information about how to prepare for and stay informed about what to do in the event of an actual emergency.
The nationwide EAS Test will be conducted jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS). The three federal partners have EAS management roles. FEMA is the lead agency in all operational and management functions of the EAS, developing national alert and warning capabilities, and integrating new technologies. The FCC is an independent agency that grants licenses, and presides over EAS rules and the rulemaking process, enforces rules, and handles test reporting data directly from EAS Participants. FCC rules regulate the transmission of EAS alerts. The NWS is a key player in the dissemination of local warnings via the EAS.
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 a representative of the president (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.
NOAA Weather Radio will not transmit the EAS Test. There is currently no mechanism to transport this type of message to NWR transmitters. Additionally, the Test will use the EAN code where the audio message exceeds the two minute audio time limit allowed by Specific Area Messaging Encoding (SAME) and the EAS.
See also …
VAH.COM Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert System on Wednesday, November 9