The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), are warning the public that they will be testing the Emergency Alert System (EAS) today, November 9, at 2 PM Eastern Standard Time. That would be 1 PM in the Central Time Zone, noon Mountain Time, and 11 AM in the Pacific Time Zone. It will be 10 AM in Alaska, 9 AM in Hawaii.
The test will be the first ever nationwide test of the EAS. It will be broadcast on radio and TV throughout the United States. According to FEMA, “all broadcasters, satellite and digital radio and television, cable television and wireline video providers” will be participating. FEMA stated that the EAS is in a state of transition, they are integrating new technologies for a broader access to alert and warning messages.
According to FEMA, while the EAS has been tested on local and state levels, there has never been a test of the system on a national level. FEMA expects the test to last approximately 30 seconds. They note that the alert will not be carried on NOAA weather radios.
During the test, there will be a message on the top of TV screens saying an “Emergency Action Notification has been issued,” and there will be audio saying “This is a test”. But FEMA said that the scrolling message that normally says “This is a test” during local/state tests may not be present. It has been reported that because of this, some police and local emergency management personal are concerned the test will cause public anxiety.