On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the first national test of the Nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS). This test will begin at 2 p.m. EST (1 p.m. local time) and will run concurrently across all time zones.
This system test is the first of its kind. It is designed to broadcast a nationwide message to the American public. Nothing like it has been conducted in the history of the country. There have been tests in the past, but none to all parts of the nation at the same time. The test will run concurrently on all radio and TV bands, and the message will run for three (3) minutes. Most messages in the past were anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute.
There is great concern in local police and emergency management circles about undue public anxiety over this test. The test message on TV might not indicate that it is just a test. The fear is that the lack of an explanation message might create panic, but there is, well, nothing to fear because it is only a test.
Below are two websites that will provide more information regarding this test.