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National Emergency Alert System Test FAQs

Last Updated: Thu, 27 Jun 2013 > Related Articles


Learn about the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS)that will occur on November 9, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.


The first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will occur on November 9, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. During this time, your programming will be interrupted for approximately 30 seconds.

This test is being conducted jointly by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Weather Service.

For additional information, please visit the FCC website at www.fcc.gov/pshs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Emergency Alert System (EAS)?

The Emergency Alert System is designed to transmit, via TV and radio, emergency alerts and warnings regarding weather threats, child abductions and other types of emergencies to the American public from national, state and local agencies. This November 9 test will specifically assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS to alert the public, and also identify any areas for improvements in the operation of the system during an emergency. While state and local tests already take place weekly and monthly, a simultaneous, nationwide test of the national EAS emergency action notification code has never occurred.

What will I hear and see during the test?

This test may resemble the periodic, monthly EAS tests that most Americans are already familiar with, but there will be some differences in what you will see and hear. The audio message will repeat This is a test. The video test message scroll may not be the same or indicate that it is only a test. The message will last for approximately 30 seconds and then regular programming will resume.

How long will the test last?

The test will last for approximately 30 seconds.

Why is the national test being conducted at this particular date and time?

Government agencies selected November 9 because it is near the end of hurricane season and before the start of severe winter weather. These same agencies selected 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time because it will minimize disruption during rush hours, and to ensure that the test occurs during working hours across several time zones in the United States.

Why do we need a nationwide test of the EAS?

A Nationwide EAS Test will help 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.

Who is participating in this nationwide test of the EAS?

EAS participants, including broadcast radio and television, cable television, satellite radio and television and wireline video services, all are required to participate in the test. Following the test, all EAS participants must report test results to the FCC within 45 days, including whether, and from whom, they received the alert message and whether they disseminated it. Under the FCC's EAS regulations, cable operators including Cox are required to provide national EAS messages issued by the President (or his or her designee). The nationwide EAS test may also serve as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and an emergency plan for their families and businesses.

Why am I having issues with the picture on my screen after the EAS Test?  

While we do not anticipate an interruption, in some rare cases to fully restore programming, follow the troubleshooting steps below.  

  1. Press the channel up / channel down button on the remote.
  2. If that does not correct the issue, unplug the cable box from the wall, wait 30 seconds, then plug the box back in and turn it on.

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