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At the Federal Communications Commission's June 9, 2011 Agenda meeting, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief Jamie Barnett, joined by representatives from FEMA and the National Weather Service, announced that the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) would take place at 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on November 9, 2011. 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 the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will use the results of this nationwide test to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism, and will work together with EAS stakeholders to make improvements to the system as appropriate.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national warning system in the United States put into place on January 1, 1997, when it superseded the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which itself had superseded the CONELRAD System. In addition to alerting the public of local weather emergencies such as tornadoes and flash floods, the official EAS is designed to enable the President of the United States to speak to the United States within 10 minutes, but the nationwide federal EAS has never been activated. A national EAS test is planned for November 9, 2011. The EAS regulations and standards are governed by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC. Each state and several territories have their own EAS plan. EAS has become part of IPAWS - the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, a program of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). EAS is jointly coordinated by FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Weather Service (NOAA/NWS).