Radio listeners and TV watchers will have their programs interrupted for about three and a half minutes Wednesday for the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
The test, to take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, will look and sound very similar to local tests of the Emergency Alert System.
The national Emergency Alert System is a public warning system that can be activated by the president, if needed, to provide information to the nation during emergencies.
According to the website of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is carrying out the test in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the purpose of the test is to "assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism. EAS participants currently participate in state-level monthly tests and local-level weekly tests, but no top-down review of the entire system has ever been undertaken. The Commission, along with (FEMA), will use the results of this nationwide test to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism."
For more information about the test, visit the FCC's website.