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FEMA to Conduct First Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert System Nov. 9

November 01, 2011

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will conduct the first-ever nationwide test of the U.S. Emergency Alert System on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The test is scheduled to begin at approximately 11a.m. in Placer County and will last about three and a half minutes.

FEMA is planning the test in close coordination with the Federal Communications Commission and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Federal officials are asking local agencies such as the Placer County Office of Emergency Services to help notify the public that the test is going to take place.

“Timely and comprehensive notification of the local population at the time of an emergency requires every tool available to government officials,” said Placer County Emergency Services Program Manager Dick Simmons. “Though we have been fortunate in not having to respond to a national-level notification, this test will help ensure that, when and if that day comes, our information systems will be able to handle it, and our local plans and procedures will be ready.”

EAS is used frequently by states and local governments for weather alerts and other emergencies, and participants such as television and radio stations are required by the FCC to conduct monthly tests of the system.

The system, however, has never been activated nationwide.

The purpose of the Nov. 9 test is to evaluate the readiness of EAS and identify improvements that would make it more effective. The system is in a state of transition, because it needs to fully integrate new technologies that will allow officials to reach a much larger audience with emergency messages.

The test message will be heard on participating radio stations and seen on local, cable and satellite television. It will resemble the regular local EAS tests that most Americans are familiar with.

Created in 1994, EAS is the latest in a series of alert systems used by the United States. The first was created in 1951 by President Harry Truman’s administration.

More information on EAS and the Nov. 9 test is available on the website of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Program office by clicking this link: EAS TEST/

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