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Nationwide EAS Test Set for Nov. 9

May last up to 3-1/2 minutes, according to FEMA, FCC

Things are going to get interesting on your radio for a few minutes, come Nov. 9.

There’s now a date for the national test of the Emergency Alert System. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC have chosen Nov. 9 for the nationwide test; they announced the test would begin at 2 p.m. Eastern and may last up to three and a half minutes.

The national alert and warning system was established to enable the president to address the American public during emergencies. NOAA’s National Weather Service, governors and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more local alerts.

Similar to familiar local EAS tests, the nationwide test will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline video service providers in all 50 states and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.

On Nov. 9, the public will hear a message indicating that “This is a test.” The audio message will be the same for both radio and television.

FCC rules require radio and television stations, cable operators and providers of satellite digital radio, direct broadcast satellite service and wireline video service to receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public. A national test will help the federal partners and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system and its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential dangers nationally and regionally.

— Leslie Stimson

FCC Orders First National EAS Test” (Feb. 2011)

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