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November 7, 2011

Re:      Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System: November 9, 2011

Dear Mayor,

As we noted in our October 13 Dear Mayor letter, this Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), the federal government will conduct the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).  The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of EAS as a way to alert the public of national emergencies.

The test will be similar to local tests conducted monthly by individual EAS participants and local officials, with three key differences:

  • First and most importantly, the text crawl may not indicate that the event is a test.  However, video service providers have been encouraged to run a background image indicating that it is a test, and the audio message will clearly state: “This is a test of the Emergency Alert System.”
  • Second, unlike local tests, it will occur on all stations simultaneously on all broadcasts, cable, satellite radio and television service, and wireline video service providers across the United States and all U.S. territories.
  • Finally, it will last only 30 seconds, substantially shorter than local tests, after which regular programming will resume.


Emergency 9-1-1 operators and first responder services across the country have been notified about the test and are aware they may have increased call volume.

Below are some other resources that may be helpful to local officials:

For additional information, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.

Executive Director




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