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October 17, 2011

National Test of Emergency Alert System Set for Nov. 9
First-ever Nationwide Test of Broadcast Alerting System

SPRINGFIELD – Radio and TV stations across the nation will participate in the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System at 1 p.m. CST on Nov. 9.  The three-minute test will be conducted 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).

“The Emergency Alert System is an important tool for providing critical information to the public during emergencies,” said Jonathon Monken, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA).  “This nationwide test is a very ambitious and necessary step to ensure the viability of the system.”

Monken said the test will be similar to those people hear monthly on their local radio and TV stations.  The main difference is that on Wednesday, Nov. 9, all TV and radio stations will be conducting the test at the same time.

EAS is a national public alert and warning system that enables the President of the United States to address the American public during extreme emergencies.  Alerting authorities can leverage the state and local EAS to send alerts and warning to radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline providers.

"Broadcasters are proud of the important role we play as 'first informers' in times of emergency," said Dennis Lyle, president and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association.  "In the 60-year history of the Emergency Alert System and its predecessors, the system has never been tested on a nationwide basis.  While we hope it will never be used for a Presidential alert, it's important to test the system end-to-end in order to seek continuous improvement of this life-saving alerting system."


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