|Illinois to participate in nationwide alert test|
|Written by John Schuller, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 27 October 2011 18:41|
The first nationwide test of the emergency broadcast system, which allows President Barack Obama to relay messages in time of crisis, is set to take place on Nov. 9 at 1 p.m.
The test will take place over all channels, including cable television and all radio stations, and will last three minutes.
Regional tests or alerts, such as hurricane or tornado warnings, only last for two minutes.
“To evaluate if the system properly interprets the presidential message code in this test, the message duration must be longer than two minutes in length,” Damon Penn, assistant administrator of national continuity programs at Federal Emergency Management Agency, stated in the agency’s blog.
What is shown on each channel may differ across the country, but the content will be the same.
Participating in the test include several federal agencies, including FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as local agencies, including the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
“This test will allow the president to address the whole nation about anything important that people in the nation or a particular region need to be informed about,” Patti Thompson, IEMA spokesperson, said.
Since a system has never been in place over the entire country in the nation’s history, the test is meant to weed out any problems that may arise when broadcasting a message, Thompson said.
“It basically is very similar to the monthly test that usually has the distinctive beeping sound telling you it is a test,” Thompson said.
All of the agencies involved want to make sure that the public is aware of the test and when it is happening, to make sure that no one gets alarmed.
“Since we first announced the test, we’ve been actively engaged with our partners at the Federal Communications Commission, our state, tribal, territorial and local partners, the broadcast community and other key stakeholders to make sure the word gets out about the upcoming test, and we’ll continue to spread the word in the coming weeks,” Penn stated in the FEMA blog.