Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System
Posted at 9:30 a.m.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) this afternoon, Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 2:20 p.m. EDT.
The purpose of the test is to ensure that EAS remains an effective means of public warning about emergencies and was designed to assess the President’s ability to send a message to the American people within 10 minutes of a disaster.
Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems helps to assess the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure and identify any needed technological and administrative improvements.
FEMA’s test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages. Specific language will differ slightly for the national test.
“This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.” (emphasis added.)
The test message will be transmitted in both English and Spanish, with EAS participants deciding which version to use for their communities. The test is intended to last approximately one minute and is expected to have limited impact with only minor disruptions of radio and television programs. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) will not be part of the test.
How EAS Works
The Emergency Alert System is a resilient form of emergency alert notification. Emergency alerts are created by authorized government agencies and sent to local radio and video service providers by local connections or through a central system administered by FEMA. The radio and video service providers then disseminate the emergency alert messages to affected communities. The FCC prescribes technical and procedural rules for communications providers’ participation in this process.