Nationwide EAS Test – TODAY

If you’re in broadcasting, you’re now well aware of today’s nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.  But, as you might expect with such a large scale test originated by the federal government, there have been several changes.  The length has gone from 2 minutes to 3 minutes to longer to now 30 seconds, and that’s just one example.  So, what can you realistically expect from today’s EAS Test at 2:00pm ET?

  • The test will be approximately 30 seconds long and will look and sound very similar to the frequent local tests of the Emergency Alert System
  • It will be transmitted via television and radio stations within the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa
  • An audio message will interrupt television and radio programming indication: ‘This is only a test,’ though text may not indicate this same message on the screen on every television channel
  • Organisations that serve people with disabilities or people with limited English proficiency should be aware that they may receive requests for information or assistance from broadcasters or other communications service providers and emergency managers in the days leading up to, during, and after the test
  • When the test is over, regular programming will resume
  • IMPORTANT:  Remember to report results and problems to the FCC as required.Source: The FCC

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are spearheading an aggressive public education campaign reminding Americans not to panic when they lose television and radio service for a few minutes on Wednesday during a test of the Emergency Alert System.  Although the public alert mechanism is decades old and often tested and used at the local level, it has never before been tested on a nationwide scale.   This first-ever test will occur at 2:00pm EST and will occur simultaneously across the U.S. and its territories, lasting up to three-and-a-half-minutes.

The EAS is a national alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States to address the American public during emergencies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, governors and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts.

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