Don't panic! FEMA urges Americans not to worry as national alert system is tested
- First-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System to occur on November 9 at 2:00pm EST
- Will last up to three-and-a-half minutes
Last updated at 1:52 PM on 9th November 2011
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are spearheading an aggressive public education campaign reminding Americans not to panic when they lose television and radio service for a few minutes on Wednesday during a test of the Emergency Alert System.
Although the public alert mechanism is decades old and often tested and used at the local level, it has never before been tested on a nationwide scale.
This first-ever test will occur at 2:00pm EST on Wednesday, November 9 and will occur simultaneously across the U.S. and its territories, lasting up to three-and-a-half-minutes.
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PSA: FCC executive James Barnett reminds viewers not to to panic when they lose television and radio service briefly today
The EAS is a national alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States to address the American public during emergencies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, governors and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts.
Wednesday's test will look and sound very similar to the local tests of the Emergency Alert System that occur frequently; the public will hear a message indicating that 'This is a test' on broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline video service providers.
The disruption will occur across all states and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE EAS ALERT:
FEMA and FCC sent an open letter to all stakeholders on Friday, including governors, federal legislators, broadcasters, news networks and other organisations, asking for their help in educating their respective communities about the event - to curb potential panic about lost communications services.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wrote: 'The various disasters our country has faced this year underscore the need for effective and well-tested emergency alert and warning systems that could be used in a time of real emergency, at a moment’s notice.
'The purpose of the test is to allow FEMA and the FCC to assess how well the Emergency Alert System would perform its primary function: alerting the public about a national emergency.'
The test is conducted to help identify any positive changes that could be made as FEMA, the FCC and other partners continue working to build 'a modernised and fully accessible Emergency Alert System', according to a press release issued by the organisations.
FCC and FEMA are also asking stakeholders to make sure their communities are aware of key facts about the test, including that the test .
The letter continued: 'As with all of our work, we know that the support of our state, local, tribal and territorial partners, along with the private sector, our faith-based and disability communities, and other key stakeholders, will be vital to effectively raising the public’s awareness of the test and minimizing undue public concern.
'We greatly appreciate your continued partnership as we prepare for this unique event and important public service.'
The test will not impact landline or mobile phones, power grids, or internet connectivity.
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2058344/Emergency-Alert-System-test-Wednesday-FEMA-FCC-tell-Americans-dont-panic.html#ixzz1dDYovo4c