Harford will be part of Wednesday's nationwide test of Emergency Alert System

November 07, 2011

This Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m., the FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, will conduct the first-ever nationwide test of the national Emergency Alert System, or EAS.

EAS participants broadcast alerts and warnings regarding severe weather alerts, child abductions and other types of emergencies. The EAS alerts are transmitted over radio and television broadcast stations, cable television and other media services.

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, according to FEMA.

Citizens are reminded the Nov. 9 test of the EAS is only a test. There is no need to contact 9-1-1 when the alert is received, as it is only a test of the system; no alerts will be real, according to Harford County emergency officials.

FEMA will transmit the EAS code for national emergencies. The EAS code and alert will be rebroadcast by broadcast stations and other service providers until it has been distributed throughout the United States and all U.S. territories. The nationwide test will be about three minutes, longer compared to the usual two-minute monthly test of the EAS, according to county emergency officials.

The purpose of Wednesday's test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system as a way to alert the public during a nationwide emergency. To help educate the public about the upcoming test, the FCC has established a website. For additional information regarding the nationwide EAS test, go to http://www.fcc.gov/pshs.

Established in 1994, the EAS is an alert and warning system designed to transmit emergency alerts and warnings to the public at the national, state and local levels. Citizens are reminded the Nov. 9 test of the EAS is only a test. There is no need to contact 9-1-1 when the alert is received as it is only a test of the system.

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