MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will be conducting the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at 1:00 p.m.
The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system as a way to alert the public of national emergencies.
More information on the test can be found here: www.fcc.gov/nationwideeastest
The organiztion Neighborhood Watch Alerts adds "Most of us know the EAS as the old Emergency Broadcast System and we’re all familiar with the monthly test we see on TV and hear on the radio. What most people don’t know is that those monthly test are all done locally and there has never been a nationwide test of the entire system."
According to Phil Petree, President of NeighborhoodWatchAlerts.com, “The important thing to know about this test is that FEMA is using a code for an actual emergency so 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 real national alert and in this case, the test. Because this is an actual alert code, the background image that appears on video screens indicating “This is a test” may not appear and when users flip channels and see or hear the alert on all channels the fear is this could cause uninformed users to panic and call 911, and flooding the 911 system could put lives as risk by preventing callers with actual emergencies from getting the help they need.”
To help people understand this test and what they can do to help, NeighborhoodWatchAlerts.com has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions page which contains valuable information, links back to the FEMA site and information for the press to use in their PSA announcements. The page can be found at www.neighborhoodwatchalerts.com/help/eastest