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Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Media Contact: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Test to Take Place November 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

The federal government will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, November 9, at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department wants all citizens and residents to understand this event will be just a test, and not a real emergency alert.
The test will last up to three and a half minutes. During this period, regularly scheduled television, radio, cable, and satellite shows will be interrupted as the system is being tested.
           “It is important to make sure the system works at the national level,” said Richard Muth, Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. “The system is regularly used for local and regional notifications, but this will be the first national test. But I want all Maryland residents to understand that this will only be a TEST.”

The test is being conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as part of an ongoing effort to keep the nation safe during emergencies and strengthen our resilience against all hazards. The EAS is an alert and warning system that can be activated by the president to provide information to the 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. The test is an important exercise to ensure communication of critical information in a national emergency. Similar to EAS tests already conducted frequently on the local level, the nationwide test will involve television and radio stations across the United States and its territories.

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 must receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public. A national test will help federal partners and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system, as well as its effectiveness notifying the public of emergencies and potential dangers nationally and regionally.  The test will also provide the FCC and FEMA a chance to identify improvements needed to build a modern and fully accessible system. 

The public should use this event as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves, their families, communities, and businesses.  Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor said, "This Emergency Alert System test is an excellent opportunity for our citizens and residents to practice their emergency operations plans.  Schools, businesses and those at home should have a emergency plan in place and ready to use at any moment and this test can be the starting point to initiate a practice run."  

It is important to be aware of the EAS test and refrain from calling 911 to check on current conditions.  Make sure you and others around know that this is a just a test, and not a real emergency alert.

Visit www.Ready.gov for more information readiness. For information about the EAS test, visit http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/emergency-alert-system-nationwide-test.

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