National Emergency Test - Nov. 9 - Potential for Confusion

The following is a press release from the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness:

Baton Rouge, LA (November 3, 2011) – Today, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP)  announced the federal government will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.  The test will last up to three and a half minutes. During this period, regularly scheduled television, radio, cable, and satellite shows will be interrupted as the system is being tested. GOHSEP would like to ensure that the citizens of Louisiana know that this is just a test and not a real emergency alert.

"This is just a precautionary measure. It is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure this system works and is an effective way to communicate in the event there's a real emergency. This test will be similar to the emergency alert tests that are conducted at the local level on television and radio stations," said Interim GOHSEP Director Pat Santos.

"Let's also use this test as a reminder for our neighbors that we've got a few more weeks left in hurricane season and then move into the winter season where we've historically seen winter-related weather hazards. Louisianians should use this emergency test as a reminder to visit www.getagameplan.org  and make sure they're ready in case disaster strikes."

The national Emergency Alert System is an alert and warning system that can be activated by the president, if needed, to provide information to the American public during emergencies.  NOAA's National Weather Service, governors, and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts. The test is being conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Under the FCC's rules, radio and television broadcasters, cable operators, satellite digital audio radio service providers, direct broadcast satellite service providers and video service providers are required to receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public.
 
Again, for more information on how you can keep your family safe, go to www.getagameplan.org.

The Following is a press release from Suddenlink Communications:National Emergency Test Scheduled for Nov. 9

Potential for Confusion

WHAT

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plan to conduct the first-ever national test of an Emergency Action Notification under the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
  • The EAS transmits warnings, via TV and radio, from national, state and local agencies, regarding weather threats, child abductions, and other types of emergencies. 
  • State and local tests have long been conducted on a weekly or monthly basis, but the Nov. 9 test will be the first nationwide test of the EAS to (a) assess its reliability and effectiveness as a national alert mechanism and (b) identify areas for improvement.

 

  • ·         While a live audio message will indicate "this is a test," the video message may not indicate the test nature of the event, potentially confusing viewers who do not hear the audio disclaimer.  The EAS system controls the content of the test message.  Suddenlink and other service providers do not. 
  • To help reduce potential confusion, Suddenlink and others are providing advanced notice of the test, including messages on customer bill statements and public service announcements (PSAs).  The government also intends to notify 911 call centers to be ready for potentially increased call volume.
  • The test will last approximately 30 seconds. 
  • Additional information is available at www.fcc.gov/pshs.

WHEN

  • Nov. 9, 2011 (2 p.m. Eastern, 1 p.m. Central, 12 p.m. Mountain, 11 a.m. Pacific)

WHERE

  • All U.S. communities

WHO

  • The test will be initiated and managed jointly by the FCC and FEMA.
  • Suddenlink, along with other cable companies and EAS participants (including broadcast radio and TV stations, as well as satellite TV providers) are required to participate in the test and report results to the FCC.