Date set for first national test of alert system

You’ll be out of luck if your favorite song is on the radio at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Nov. 9.

That’s because the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission plan to conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System at that time, according to a FEMA statement.

It will be the first such test of the system across the entire country at once, and the test will last as long as three and a half minutes. Similar tests occur locally fairly often, signaled by the familiar cacophony of the emergency alert. State and local authorities and National Weather Service officials use the alerts to notify people about severe weather or other emergency alerts.

The nationwide test will be broadcast via radio, TV stations, cable TV, satellite radio and TV, and wired video service providers, according to the statement. FEMA and FCC officials said the test will set a baseline for EAS’ ability to share information across the country during an emergency.

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Reader Comments

Wed, Jun 15, 2011

A test at a scheduled time only tests the wiring. They also need to do a surprise test at some point, to test the people and procedures. What happens when everyone isn't sitting there waiting for the alarm? Same concept as why you don't announce fire drills ahead of time in a big building.

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