The Emergency Alert System will be tested on radio and TV Wednesday for the first time nationally. The thirty second test will come at 2 p.m. eastern time and will last about 30 seconds, according to reports. It will be broadcast on all television and radio stations across the country.
The Washington Post reported that this date was chosen because it was after hurricane season but before the season of severe winter weather set in.
A national emergency broadcast could come in handy, Federal Emergency Management Administration officials said.
The Emergency Alert System is one of many tools in our communications toolbox, said Damon Penn, a FEMA assistant administrator, to delmarvanow.com
Forbes.com reported that the test was originally slotted to be 2 minutes 30 seconds, but FEMA ultimately decided to cut it short so as not to disrupt stations programming.
As FEMA and the FCC continue working with all stakeholders to raise public awareness of the upcoming test, we have elected to shorten the test to 30 seconds to reduce any potential disruptions to the American people, while still maintaining our ability to test the system's nationwide capabilities. Consumers can still expect the test to look and sound very similar to the local tests of the Emergency Alert System that are already conducted frequently in local markets on TV and radio, said a FEMA spokesperson to Forbes.
Forbes.com also noted that their was a faint possibility that some right wing stations could protest what they believe is the Obama administration's government overreach by turning off their broadcasts for a minute to avoid airing the test.