What does the National Emergency Alert test mean to me?
Perhaps you’ve been seeing and hearing announcements about an upcoming nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System on your local TV, radio and cable stations and networks. Well, conspiracy theories about black helicopters and those colored detour signs on the interstates aside, we have all the facts about the test and there’s nothing to worry about.
First, when is it?
The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place on November 9, 2011 at 2 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).
What’s it for?
From the FCC:
The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism. EAS Participants currently participate in state-level monthly tests and local-level weekly tests, but no top-down review of the entire system has ever been undertaken. The Commission, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will use the results of this nationwide test to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism, and will work together with EAS stakeholders to make improvements to the system as appropriate.
According to the NAB, the EAS system has never been tested on a national scale before, and officials want to make a go of it, see what works, what doesn’t, and create a baseline from where they can make improvements.
What else can you tell me?
The test will be conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The test will start at approximately 2 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) and will last approximately 60 seconds.
Then it’s back to Dr. Oz, the soaps, your Law and Order reruns, or your favorite 200 song playlist station.