The Federal Communications Commission has set Nov. 9, 2011, as the date for the first nationwide diagnostic test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), the agency said last week. All EAS participants are required to take part in the exercise, which will be conducted at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
According to an FCC notice, the test will be conducted “to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a mechanism to alert the public of emergencies.” The agency noted that although there are monthly local and statewide tests of the EAS system, there has never been a national test.
Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FCC will use results gathered from the national test to assess strengths and weaknesses of the system and to identify where to make improvements to EAS as needed.
The agency will post updates regarding the upcoming test online. The notice recommended checking the website frequently for new information about the test that will be made public as it becomes available. It also advised EAS participants to work with their State Emergency Coordination Councils to prepare for the test.