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Nationwide EAS Test Scheduled on November 9, 2011


The federal government will conduct the first-ever, nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) at 1:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday, November 9, 2011.  The test will last approximately thirty seconds.

The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS to alert the entire country during a nationwide emergency.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will initiate the test from Washington, D.C. to simulate the President’s issuance of an Emergency Action Notification (EAN) message for a national emergency, such as a nuclear attack, terrorist incident, or a national disaster.  However, the President’s voice will not be broadcast during the November 9th test.

The thirty-second audio message on both radio and TV will repeat “This is a test” several times, but the scrolling text message at the top of TV screens will read “The Primary Entry Point System has issued an Emergency Action Notification for Washington, DC” to test what a real EAN message would display on TV sets.

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.

The La Porte Office of Emergency Management is using the nationwide EAS test as an opportunity to educate homeowners and businesses about regional disaster preparedness and response.  Residents can visit http://www.lpoem.org/ to learn how to “Make a Plan, Build a Kit, and Stay Informed”.  During an actual emergency, residents can visit www.laportetx.gov or http://www.readyharris.org/ to obtain timely and accurate information.

Fortunately, since the first emergency notification system (CONELRAD) was created by President Truman in 1951, no President has ever had to issue an Emergency Action Notification (EAN) message.  But EAS is frequently used by state and local government officials to quickly warn the public about approaching severe weather and AMBER Alerts for missing children.  EAS can also be activated for other local emergencies such as hurricane evacuations, wildfire evacuations, or hazardous materials releases.

For more information, visit http://www.fema.gov/eastest/.