UPDATE: DHS reports that the test will only last for 30 seconds.
FEMA released a video on Friday as part of a campaign to inform communities about the upcoming test of the nationwide Emergency Alert System.
The test will occur Wednesday, November 9, at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Across the nation, a three minute set of beeps and tones, followed by a voice repeating, “this is a test,” will be broadcast simultaneously on all regularly scheduled television, radio, cable, and satellite programs.
"As we get close to the test, the FCC and all of our many partners are working together to spread the word to as many members of the public as possible -- so people know what to expect when the test takes place, and no one is caught off guard," said FEMA administrator Craig Fugate.
"The test will not involve other communication devices such as the Internet, LAN and mobile telephones. No other communications networks or devices will be impacted by the test, meaning that people will be able to continue use their cell phones, the internet and other communications channels during the test. There will be no disruption of those services," according to a FEMA FAQ about the test.
The national Emergency Alert System is an alert and warning system that can be activated by the President, if needed, to provide information to the public during emergencies. NOAA can also use the system for more localized alerts.
Weather warnings are limited to two mintutes by the alert system, but the presidential message capability is unlimited. This is the feature being tested, which is why the test may last for more than three minutes.
This will be the first test of a nationwide emergency alert system.
thumbnail by Mykl Roventine/flickr