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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The nationwide test will occur at 1 p.m. today, Nov. 9, and may last up to three-and-a-half minutes.

The EAS is a national alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States to address the American public during emergencies. The National Weather Service, governors and state and local emergency management also use part of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts.

On Nov. 9, the public will hear the message “This is a test,” on radio and television. 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 are required to receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public.

According to FEMA, a national test will help the 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.

The upcoming national test is critical to ensuring that the EAS works as designed. A reliable and effective emergency alert and warning system is vital to ensuring the public’s safety during times of emergency. according to FEMA.