FYI Only: Nationwide Emergency Test

The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 9, on all television and radio outlets across the country. The test will assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism. EAS participants currently participate in state-level monthly tests and local-level weekly tests, but no top-down review of the entire system has ever been undertaken. The results of this test will be used to improve the system.

During the test, audiences will encounter a message indicating that “this is a test.” Although the test may resemble the periodic, monthly EAS tests most Americans are already familiar with, there will be some differences:

  • The audio message will be the same for all participants, but due to limitations in the EAS, the video test message scroll may not be the same or indicate that “This is a test.”
  • The text at the top of the television screen may indicate that an “Emergency Action Notification has been issued.” This notification is used to disseminate a national alert and in this case, the test.
  • The background image that appears on video screens during an alert may indicate that “This is a test,” but in some instances there might not be an image at all.

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