First TEST of Emergency Action Notification message since established in 1951
Posted Date: 11/8/2011
The federal government will conduct the first-ever, nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) at 1:00 p.m. CST on Wednesday, November 9, 2011. The purpose of the test is to assess the effectiveness and reliability of EAS to alert the entire country during a nationwide emergency. The test will last approximately 30 seconds.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will initiate the test from Washington, D.C. to simulate the President’s issuance of an Emergency Action Notification (EAN) message for a national emergency, such as a nuclear attack, terrorist incident, or a national disaster. However, the President’s voice will not be broadcast during the November 9th test.
FCC rules require all radio, TV, cable and satellite systems nationwide to immediately interrupt their regular programming to broadcast national EAN messages and tests.
The audio message on both radio and TV will repeat “This is a test” several times, but the scrolling text message at the top of TV screens will read “The Primary Entry Point System has issued an Emergency Action Notification for Washington, DC” to test what a real EAN message would display on TV sets.
The City of Rosenberg would like to remind the public to help keep call centers open and not delay calls from citizens reporting real emergencies and by utilizing 9-1-1 ONLY in emergency situations that require immediate assistance from law enforcement, fire protection or ambulance services. Non emergency calls to inquire about the test may overwhelm the telephone network at emergency call centers and delay 9-1-1 from receiving calls from citizens reporting real emergencies.
Since the first emergency notification system (CONELRAD) was created by President Truman in 1951, no President has ever had to issue an Emergency Action Notification (EAN) message. But EAS is frequently used by state and local government officials to quickly warn the public about approaching severe weather and AMBER Alerts for missing children. EAS can also be activated for other local emergencies such as hurricane evacuations, wildfire evacuations, or hazardous materials releases.
The Emergency Alert System for the 13-county Houston area is administered locally by the Houston Area Local Emergency Communications Committee. The Houston Area LECC is composed of local government officials authorized to activate EAS as well as local broadcasters, satellite and cable operators who can broadcast EAS messages. The 13 counties in the Houston EAS area are Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Waller, and Wharton.
Angela E. Fritz
City of Rosenberg