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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Reminder: Emergency Alert System National Test on Wednesday, November 9

Reminder: Emergency Alert System National Test on Wednesday, November 9


November 7, 2011


Don't Worry, It's Only a Test

AUGUSTA, MAINE — If you are watching television or listening the radio at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, you will see or hear a test emergency message from Washington, DC.

It is a test of the federal government's ability to send an emergency message nationwide in the event of a national crisis. Maine radio and television stations and cable TV systems, along with satellite TV companies, will participate in this first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The Maine Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Public Safety and the Maine Association of Broadcasters are reminding Mainers of the upcoming test because it will look and sound a little different from the usual Maine-originated EAS tests regularly seen and heard in the State.

The audio message will be the same for radio, television, and cable TV: a message that "This is a test." 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 message will run approximately 30 seconds. (FEMA and the FCC last week announced their decision to shorten the test message, originally planned to run more than three minutes).

The November 9 message will test the "National" end of EAS: can a national message reach each state's EAS distribution network. This will be the first time a test of this magnitude has been conducted.

By contrast, the "Maine" end of the EAS system is tested statewide each month, and each station conducts an individual weekly test.

Maine also uses EAS regularly, primarily to transmit severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service. Other types of emergency messages may be sent from the Department of Public Safety or MEMA.

In Maine, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network receives alert messages from the originating agency and broadcasts them across MPBN's statewide network. All other radio and television stations and cable systems in the State pick up MPBN's signal and rebroadcast the messages on their own stations.

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). For more information on the National EAS Test, visit

For more information about preparing for all emergencies, visit Maine Prepares

But remember, on November 9 at 2:00 pm, it's only a test.



Last update: 07/20/10