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Emergency Alert System Test: One Month Away

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Back in June, I blogged about the first national-level test of the Emergency Alert System that will take place on November 9 at 2 p.m. eastern. With the test now less than a month away, I wanted to put out a friendly reminder about what it means for you.

So here's an excerpt from my first blog post, with details about the test:



One of the most important communications tools that helps federal, state, local, territorial and tribal authorities issue emergency information and warnings to the public is the Emergency Alert System. This system is frequently used and tested at the local level, but to date it has never been tested on the national level. Chances are you have seen or heard the Emergency Alert System tested in your area many times, whether while watching your favorite TV show or listening to the radio.

What will people hear and see during the test?

On November 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. However, the image on the screen and the text/crawl at the top of television screen may not be the same for all viewers. When the Emergency Alert System test is over, regular programming will resume.

How long will the test last?

We anticipate that the test will last approximately 3 minutes. While most messages, such as tsunami or hurricane warnings, are limited to two minutes by the emergency alert system, the Presidential message capability (which will be used in the national test) does not have a time limit. So to evaluate if the system properly interprets the Presidential message code in this test, the message duration must be longer than two minutes in length.

Since we first announced the test, we've been actively engaged with our partners at the Federal Communications Commission, our state, tribal, territorial and local partners, the broadcast community, and other key stakeholders to make sure the word gets out about the upcoming test, and we'll continue to spread the word in the coming weeks. I encourage you to visit the FCC website for more information about the test, including answers to some frequently asked questions.

Last Updated: 
06/16/2012 - 15:35
Posted on Thu, 10/13/2011 - 16:07