People in the U.S., who brave hurricanes, storms and other natural disasters every year, will now get emergency alerts as an emergency alert system will be tested across the country on Wednesday.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) will deliver weather information and emergency alerts targeted to specific areas. The EAS is a media communications-based alerting system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers and direct broadcast satellite to provide the communications capability to the president to address the nation during national emergency.
An EAS alert is based on an audio protocol defined in the Federal Communications Commission's rules. In the EAS, an alert originator at the local, state or national level inputs an EAS alert into the system using specific encoding equipment.
The EAS provides the ability to send messages regionally or nationally, though it has never been activated at these levels. But a major disaster like an earthquake or tsunami could necessitate the use of the EAS on a regional or national basis to send life-saving information to the public.
The national EAS test, which is going to take place Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern time, will help the FCC improve its capabilities should it ever be needed at the regional or national level in an actual emergency.