Tags: FEMA | emergency | alert | system | TV

Don't Touch That Remote: TV Blackout Will Be Only a Test

Tuesday, 08 Nov 2011 04:07 PM

By Andra Varin

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Don’t panic. This is only a test.

Televisions around the nation will go dark for 30 seconds at 2 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday as stations run a test of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Alert System. Radio stations also will run the alert in the first nationwide test of the system.

Local stations run EAS tests regularly, but FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission said they wanted to see how well the 17-year-old system would work in the event of a national crisis.

“The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism,” a FEMA news release says.

The test initially was supposed to last three minutes, but officials thought that might frighten some viewers into thinking there was an actual emergency, so the test was shortened to 30 seconds. Then you’ll be returned to your regular programming.


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