The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 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 wireline video service.
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.
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.
This event should serve as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency plan and preparedness kit for themselves and their families. Information on how to prepare and stay informed in the event of an actual emergency can be found at Ready.gov.