FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will conduct the first nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) Test on November 9, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.
FEMA, the FCC, and NOAA’s vision for improving the EAS is incremental, which means testing the readiness and effectiveness of the EAS as it currently exists today is the first step. A more effective and functional EAS requires continual testing to identify necessary improvements so that all levels of the system can better serve our communities and deliver critical information that will save lives and property.
EAS Participants provide a critical public service to the nation as the resilient backbone of alert and warning when all other means of communication are unavailable. EAS Participants include all broadcasters, satellite and digital radio and television, cable television and wireline video providers who ensure the system is at a constant state of readiness.
The nationwide EAS Test is not a pass or fail measure, nor will it specifically test Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) compliant equipment (although CAP compliant equipment should pass the Emergency Action Notification [EAN] live-code in the same manner as legacy EAS equipment).
FEMA and its federal partners understand that improving the EAS is a process that takes time. IPAWS has compiled experiential lessons learned and best practices from the Alaska EAS Tests in 2010 & 2011 as well as through the EAS rebuilding effort and tsunami live-code test in the U.S. Virgin Islands (located in the EAS Tests and Demonstrations section). Laboratory research is also being conducted at IPAWS.
IPAWS, in coordination with the FCC, is continually engaging the EAS Community through many activities, including information updates, workshops, roundtables, webinars, and on-site State and local EAS demonstrations to continue a solutions-oriented dialogue. IPAWS has also developed an external idea sharing website, A National Dialogue on the Emergency Alert System to discuss best practices and lessons learned from the EAS Community on a variety of topics that will support discussions during webinar and roundtable events.
The alert and warning landscape is in an important state of transition; from the current system of radio, television, cable, satellite, and wireline broadcast media-based alerting to a future system that integrates new technologies for a more universal access to alert and warning messages. Future testing of the EAS will assess the effectiveness and reliability of other technologies to achieve the ultimate goal of timely alert and warning to American public in the preservation of life and property.
Here are specific items we want everyone to know about the test:
• It will be conducted Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00 PM EST.
• 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.
• Similar to local emergency alert system tests, an audio message will interrupt television and radio programming indicating: “This is a test.”
• When the test is over, regular programming will resume.