Test of the National Emergency Alert System

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Neil McDevitt, FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination. Video in Spanish featuring Dawn Hart, FEMA Office of External Affairs.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The nationwide test will occur on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. eastern standard time and will last approximately 30 seconds instead of 2-3 minutes, as originally announced. The Nov. 9 date was chosen since it is near the end of hurricane season and before the severe winter weather season. The 2 p.m. Eastern broadcast time will minimize disruption during rush hours, while ensuring that the test can occur during normal business hours across several time zones.

The EAS is a national alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States to address 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. 

Similar to local EAS tests that are already conducted frequently, the nationwide test will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline video service providers across all states and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.

On Nov. 9, the public will hear a message indicating that "This is a test." The audio message will be the same for both radio and television. Under the FCC's rules, radio and television broadcasters, cable operators, satellite digital audio radio service providers, direct broadcast satellite service providers and wireline video service providers are required to receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public. A national test will help the federal partners and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system and its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential dangers nationally and regionally.

For people with vision and hearing disabilities, the test will include an audio message announcing that the exercise is a “Test Only,” but there may or may not be a corresponding visual message alerting viewers that this is only a test of the EAS system. If you have a family member or know of an individual or neighbor that has a visual or hearing disability, please let them know this is only a test.

For Additional Information

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)


FEMA Press Release

FCC's Report and Order on the National Test (PDF)




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