For all of you who sleep in, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will initiate a "live" nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.
Yes, it's that annoying computer-generated voice that interrupts your TV screen almost always when you are watching your soap, a breaking news story or favorite morning talk show. It states: “This a test, an emergency test ..." And then there is the piercing tone that seems to last forever.
Although the EAS is decades old and often tested, and used at the local level, it has never before been tested on a nationwide scale. This first-ever test will occur simultaneously across the U.S. and its territories. It will last around 30 seconds, after which regular programming will resume.
The EAS has been in existence since 1994, and its precursor, the Emergency Broadcast System, began in 1963. Television and radio broadcasters, satellite radio and satellite television providers, as well as cable television and wireline video providers all participate in the system (collectively, EAS participants), so says the FCC's web site.
"EAS participants broadcast thousands of alerts and warnings to the American public each year regarding weather threats, child abductions, and many other types of emergencies. As such, the EAS will continue to function as one key component of a national alert and warning system that will provide alerts over multiple communications platforms, including mobile communications devices."
What will you see?
- “This is a test” will be audible. However, the visual message may not signify that “this is a test” as the code transmitting the message will not have this text.
- A background screen and/or video scroll signifying that “This is a test” to supplement the message may or may not appear on the screen.
Need more details?
Or visit the city of Laguna Niguel's web site.
Remember, this is only a test. No action is needed on your part so please do not be alarmed.
Once it is over, you can go back to watching your soap.