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Emergency Alert System

As part of larger efforts to strengthen our nation’s preparedness and resiliency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct the first nation-wide test of the Emergency Alert System on November 9th, at 2 p.m. eastern.

The national Emergency Alert System is an alert and warning system can be activated by the President, if needed, to provide information to the American public during emergencies. NOAA’s National Weather Service, governors, and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts. The test is an important exercise in ensuring that the system is effective in communicating critical information to the public in the event of a real national emergency. It is a critical communications tool that can provide alerts, warning and information rapidly across multiple television and radio platforms.

For additional information about the nationwide Emergency Alert System test, please visit:
FEMA at  
FCC at

Available in Spanish  at
FEMA Video on YouTube at 
and the pop out version:

EAS  Nationwide Test  

The National Emergency Alert System
(EAS) Test
November 9, 2011
2:00 pm EDT and 1:00 pm CDT





Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test

The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, or EAS, will take place at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on November 9, 2011. The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system in alerting the public.

What is the Emergency Alert System (EAS)?
The National-level EAS is a national public alert and warning system that enables the President of the United States to address the American public during extreme emergencies. Alerting authorities can leverage the State and local EAS to send alerts and warnings to radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline providers.

What is the Nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) Test?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA,) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will send an EAS test message to all participating radio, television, cable, and satellite providers.

What Can I Expect to Hear/See?
The Test may look like regular, local EAS tests that most people are already familiar with, but there will be some differences in what viewers will see and hear. The audio message will repeat “This is a test.” The video message scroll may not indicate “This is a test.” The message will last for approximately three minutes and then regular programming will resume.

Where Will I Hear/See the Test?
On all participating radio, television, cable, and satellite providers (who are called EAS Participants).

When Will the Test Occur?
November 9, 2011 at 2:00 PM (Eastern). The 2:00 PM (Eastern) time was selected to make sure the Test can occur during normal business hours across many time zones.

Will the test involve mobile communications devices?
No. The test will involve only those communications service providers – broadcast radio and television, cable television, satellite radio and television and wireline video services – that participate in the EAS.
Why do we need a nationwide test? Although local and state components of the EAS are tested on a weekly and monthly basis, there has never been an end-to-end nationwide test of the system. We need to know that the system will work as intended should public safety officials ever need to send an alert or warning to a large region of the United States. Only a complete, top-down test of the EAS can provide an appropriate diagnosis of the system’s performance.

Emergency Alert System - Emergency Managers Notebook

State of Florida EAS

What is Emergency Alert System (EAS)? The EAS is basically a new and improved Emergency Broadcast System (EBS). These were devised to provide the President a means to communicate with the public in the event of a national emergency. 

Major features of the EAS include:

  • A digital system that will allow broadcast, cable, satellite and other services to send and receive Alert information.
  • Multiple monitoring sources for emergency alerts.
  • Shortened Alert tone (eight-second minimum).
  • Automated and remote-control operations (including abilities to turn on specially-equipped radios and televisions).
  • Weekly tests which are unobtrusive to viewers/listeners and monthly on-air tests.
  • Capability to issue alerts in languages other than English.
  • Provisions for hearing and visually impaired people.
  • Mandated protocol for sending messages.

The main difference between the EAS and EBS systems is in the method employed to alert equipment at stations about an incoming message. EBS uses a two-tone audio signal transmitted by broadcast stations to demute a receiver. EAS will utilize new equipment and Audio Frequency Shift Keying (AFSK) to send an information bearing signal on a broadcast stations main audio channel. AFSK is a method of representing digital information by using different audio frequencies modulated on a carrier.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Association of Broadcasters, are involved in a comprehensive program to develop and improve the Emergency Alert System into an effective, modern and efficient mechanism to alert the public of impending danger.

July 11, 2016 9:39




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