On November 9, 2011 at 2:00 PM ET, the Federal Communications Commission, along with FEMA, will be conducting their first National Emergency Alert System (EAS) test. The national level EAS leverages the communications support of all participating cable providers. The test will be approximatly 30 seconds in duration and once the test is over, your normal programming will resume.
On November 9, at 2 PM EST, FEMA will transmit the EAS code for national level emergencies to Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations in the national level of the EAS. The PEP stations will then rebroadcast the alert to the general public in their broadcast vicinity, as well as to the next level of EAS Participants monitoring them. This should continue through all levels of the system, until the national alert has been distributed throughout the entire country.
Although the Nationwide EAS Test may resemble the periodic, monthly EAS tests that most Americans are already familiar with, there will be some differences in what viewers will see and hear, which is one reason for conducting a nationwide EAS test. Although the activation will include an audio message indicating that this is a test, a visual message indicating that “this is a test” may not appear on every television channel, especially for cable subscribers. This is due to the use of a “live” national code – the same code that would be used in an actual emergency. FEMA and the FCC are conducting outreach to the public, especially the deaf and hard of hearing, in advance of the test. Outreach will include specific information tailored to the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing and will be readily available at online sites. In addition, FEMA and the FCC will continue to work with EAS Participants to explore possible solutions to address this limitation.
For more information, log on to http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/emergency-alert-system-nationwide-test.