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 Emergency Alert System (EAS)

What is the Emergency Alert System (EAS)?

The EAS is a public alert and warning system that leverages communication systems (digital and satellite television and terrestrial and satellite radio) to allow the President of the United States or local, state and tribal governments to communicate with the public during an emergency.

EAS messages are prefaced by a series of screeching tones and often appear as a scrawling message along the bottom of the television screen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Services (NWS) routinely uses EAS to disseminate emergency weather alerts and advisories.

When will the Emergency Alert System (EAS) test happen in Arizona?

The EAS will be tested in Arizona on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at noon MST. The test will be broadcast over local television and radio stations and last 30 seconds. 


During the test, the National Weather Service (NWS) will provide situational awareness of possible severe weather and climate threats to the United States.


Should the NWS need to activate the EAS to broadcast real-life severe state or local weather alerts, test managers may delay the test in that area to make way for the imminent threat weather alert.


The following resources offer more information on the EAS and the Nov. 9, 2011, test:

·         Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

·         Emergency Alert System: Life Saving Messages to the Nation [PDF]

·         Arizona Broadcasters Association

·         Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Why is the Emergency Alert System (EAS) being tested in Arizona?

The EAS test plays a vital role in ensuring Arizona is prepared for all hazards and able to receive critical and vital information should the need arise.


While EAS tests may be temporarily disruptive to radio and television programming, it is important to ensure that the EAS is functional and responsive.


The EAS has never before been tested on a national level. The Nov. 9, 2011, test is an opportunity to baseline the system and its capabilities at all levels.


Is the Emergency Alert System (EAS) being tested anywhere else?

This is a national test. The nationwide test will simultaneously involve television stations, including digital television, cable, satellite audio and television services, and broadcast radio stations across the U.S. and several U.S. territories.


How is the Emergency Alert System (EAS) used in an actual emergency?

In the aftermath of a national catastrophic event, authorities will transmit crucial information to the public through as many methods as possible. The national EAS program provides the nation with an unparalleled, survivable communications network available under most dire conditions.