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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > THIS IS ONLY A TEST: Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test Set for Wednesday, November 9, 2011

THIS IS ONLY A TEST: Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test Set for Wednesday, November 9, 2011


November 1, 2011


A message from the Maine Department of Public Safety, Maine Emergency Management Agency and the Maine Association of Broadcasters

EDITOR'S NOTE: As of November 3rd, FEMA has announced that the length of the test will be reduced to 30 seconds.

AUGUSTA, MAINE — On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at 2:00 pm, anyone watching television or listening to the radio will see or hear a test emergency message from Washington, DC. But don’t worry, it’s only a test.

Maine radio and television stations and cable TV systems, along with satellite TV companies, will participate in the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, November 9. The test, originating from Washington, D.C., will begin at approximately 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and will last for about three and a half minutes 30 seconds.

During the test, the public will hear a message indicating that "This is a test." The audio message will be the same for radio, television, and cable TV. However, television viewers will see a “text crawl” at the top of their TV screens that says, “The Primary Entry Point has issued an Emergency Action Notification for Washington, D.C., until 2:15 p.m.” TV viewers may or may not see other on-screen text indicating that the alert is a test. Viewers should rest assured, however, that this is only a test.

The November 9th test will assess the federal government’s ability to send a message from Washington to all 50 states, not each state’s individual EAS network. Maine tests EAS statewide each month, and each station conducts an individual weekly test. Maine’s EAS messages are issued by the State or the National Weather Service via the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and then rebroadcast by all radio and television stations and cable systems in the State.

The national-level EAS is a public alert and warning system that enables the President of the United States to address the American public during extreme emergencies. The system has never been used for that purpose. Its primary use is to warn of state and local emergency situations, such as severe weather events, and it is used regularly in Maine for that purpose.

Similar to statewide and local EAS tests that are conducted frequently, the National EAS Test will air on broadcast radio and television stations, cable television systems, and satellite radio and television services across all states and territories. As the federal government and the media prepare to test their alerting capabilities, this event serves as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and an emergency plan for themselves, their families and businesses.

Visit Maine Prepares or for more information about how to prepare for and what to do in the event of an actual emergency.

For more information on the National EAS Test, visit

The National EAS Test is being conducted jointly by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).



Last update: 07/20/10