This Wednesday, don't be alarmed if you turn on your radio or TV and hear an Emergency Alert System test. The test will be run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
The test will run for 30 seconds starting at 1 p.m. CST. The audio message will indicate that 'this is a test,' though the television broadcast may not have a crawling banner indicating it is a test. After the test broadcast, regular radio and TV programming will return. FEMA has created a video to further explain the test:
The EAS test has been used before on a state level, specifically for weather emergencies. But Wednesday's test will be the first time the EAS test will be used nationally. The purpose of the test is to ensure national preparedness in the event of any type of disaster. Officials say they have decided to conduct the test in early November because the date falls between the end of hurricane season and the beginning of severe winter snow-storms.
The Emergency Alert System replaced the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1997. It uses digitally encoded messaged that can be addressed to specific areas or states in the event of severe weather, Amber Alerts and civil emergencies.