National Emergency Test Set for Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct the first-ever national test of an Emergency Action Notification under the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The test will be at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Central, 12:00 p.m. Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific), last 30 seconds, and include all U.S. communities.

While a live audio message will indicate “this is a test,” the video message may not indicate the test nature of the event, potentially confusing those who do not hear the audio disclaimer. The EAS system controls the content of the test message. Suddenlink and other service providers do not.

To help reduce potential confusion, Suddenlink and others provided advanced notice of the test, including messages on customer bill statements and public service announcements (PSAs). The government also notified 911 call centers to be ready for potentially increased call volume.

The EAS transmits warnings, by TV and radio, from national, state and local agencies, regarding weather threats, child abductions, and other types of emergencies. State and local tests have long been conducted on a weekly or monthly basis, but the Nov. 9 test will be the first nationwide test of the EAS to assess its reliability and effectiveness as a national alert mechanism and identify areas for improvement. Suddenlink, along with other cable companies and EAS participants (including broadcast radio and TV stations, as well as satellite TV providers) are required to participate in the test and report results to the FCC.

To learn more, go to this FCC webpage.