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All TV and radio stations to pause at 11am Wednesday

November 8, 2011 |  9:38 pm

This is a test. This is only a test.

At 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, nearly all U.S. radio stations and television channels (including cable and satellite) will simultaneously pause for the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.

For 30 seconds, "This is a test" will be heard, and on many televisions the message will appear on the screen.

The test will be conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Over the last 15 years, state and local governments have used the Emergency Alert System, also called EAS, to send weather and emergency alerts to residents. But there has never been a national activation of the system, according to FEMA’s website.

The purpose of the test Wednesday, FEMA said, will be to evaluate how well the system will be able to deliver a nationwide message. FEMA chose Wednesday because it falls between the end of hurricane season and the usual start of severe winter weather, although a late-October storm that slammed into the Northeast jumped the gun this year.

The California Emergency Management Agency urges state residents to use the occasion to remind themselves to get ready for emergencies. Information on preparedness can be found at

Just remember, this is only a test.


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--Rosanna Xia

Photo: Emergency Operations Center for Los Angeles County.Credit: Kim D. Johnson/Associated Press