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09 November 2011

US nationwide emergency alert test length reduced

On November 9, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a way to alert the public of national emergencies.

The EAS Third Report and Order, which adopted the rule allowing for nationwide testing of the EAS, delegated authority to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) to determine, in consultation with FEMA and other EAS stakeholders, as appropriate, various operational procedures for implementing national tests of the EAS, including the duration of the test.

On August 23, 2011, the Bureau released a Public Notice addressing operational procedures for the Nationwide EAS Test, which, among other things, stated that the test would last for “approximately three minutes.”

On October 26, 2011, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the availability of a Nationwide EAS Test Handbook (Handbook) providing EAS Participants with operational instructions for the test and which also stated that the test would last for “approximately three minutes.”

After a careful review of the technical elements of the test, FEMA and the FCC have concluded that a thirty-second test will allow the agencies to effectively assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a way to alert the public of national emergencies with limited disruption to the public.

A revised Handbook reflecting the new thirty second test length has been posted at www.fcc.gov/nationwideeastest.

Source: Media Network, FCC - Southgate Amateur Radio News