First-Ever Nation-wide Emergency Alert System to be Tested Today

The system has never been tested before and can only be activated by the president during a national emergency.

January 6, 2010
Anchorage Daily News

Alaska will participate at 10 a.m. in the first-ever test of the Emergency Action Notification system designed to alert the entire nation in the event of an emergency.

At about 10 a.m., the three-minute test alert will be heard on the radio and seen on local and cable TV, according to the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Audio will indicate that this is a "test," but what viewers see on their TV screens may not, the division said.

The division asks that people go to to give feedback on their test reception.

The test is similar to testing conducted by state and local authorities each year for the Tsunami Warning System and the Amber Alert System. But this test involves a national public warning system that allows the president to address the country during a national emergency.

This test is being conducted by the division, the Alaska Broadcasters Association and the State Emergency Communications Committee, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications System.

Alaska was chosen to be the first state to test the EAN because of its isolation and Alaskans' familiarity with tsunami tests, the division said.