On Wednesday, Nov. 9, Delaware will join all other states in conducting the first nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) test. At 2 p.m., radio, television and cable stations will broadcast the familiar alert warning sound. Following the alert sound, the recorded message on broadcast media will state, “This is a test.” The audio message will be the same for both radio and television.
At the conclusion of the 30-second test script, all broadcast media will return to normal programming.
The test is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Even though the EAS is tested regularly throughout Delaware, on radio and television, it is the first nationwide test conducted with all states participating at the same time.
Officials said the season and timing chosen for the test reflects an effort to involve states and communities with as little disruption of regular schedules and routines as possible. In November, the hurricane season is very near closing at the end of the month and, in most years, it is early for winter storms and nor’easters. In spite of this year’s end-of-October snow storm in many Atlantic states, chances are that calmer, routine seasonal weather will prevail on Nov. 9, they said.
The 2 p.m. time will be prior to evening rush hour along the east coast and after morning rush hour in the most western time zone, they added.
When it sounds on Nov. 9, the test will last 30 seconds -- shortened from a previous planned 3 minute test. According to FEMA, the National-level EAS test will demonstrate a public alert and warning system that would enable the president of the United States to address the American public during an extreme emergency.
Similar to local EAS tests that are conducted frequently, the nationwide test will involve the same broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline providers that participate regularly.
FEMA and FCC representatives said the nationwide event has been two years in planning and it is part of ongoing national preparedness efforts. FEMA, the FCC and other federal partners, along with state, local, tribal and territorial governments, and those who participate in EAS activities have been working toward making this test a reality, they said.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate reminds everyone, “We want you to know this is a test. It’s our opportunity to check to make sure that our systems are working across the country if we have a national emergency. Because of the system design, not all of you will see the crawl that says this is a test. It will say this is an emergency alert, but we want you to understand, this is a test.”
As the federal, state, tribal, territorial and local governments prepare for and test the EAS capabilities, DEMA officials are reminding the public that the event serves as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves, their families, communities and businesses.