The first national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place next Wednesday, November 9th at 11am Pacific time. According to a letter issued by the FCC today:
“The test will occur simultaneously across the United States and the U.S. territories and will last approximately 30 seconds, after which regular programming will resume. The test will appear on all broadcast radio and television stations, cable television systems, satellite radio and television systems, and wireline video service systems. The test will not involve landline or mobile phones or other infrastructure such as power grids.
The various disasters our country has faced this year underscore the need for effective and well-tested emergency alert and warning systems that could be used in a time of real national emergency, at a moment’s notice. Now, with the test less than a week away, we ask that you join us in efforts to educate your entire community about this important event.
Although the Emergency Alert System and its predecessors have been in existence for more than 50 years and are often tested at the local level, there has never been a nationwide test of these capabilities. The purpose of the test is to allow FEMA and the FCC to assess how well the Emergency Alert System would perform its primary function: alerting the public about a national emergency.”
Additionally, the FCC also released an EAS handbook (PDF) today for all participating stations to use during the National Test next week. This handbook must be posted at all EAS equipment locations. Participating stations should make sure that they understand all of the requirements for the National Test and listeners and viewers should also be aware that they will hear a short disruption in programming across all stations on Wednesday.
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