Matt Potter 6:30 a.m., May 22
Emergency broadcast test
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is planning to shut down all television and radio stations across the country for a nationwide test of the Agency’s Emergency Alert System.
The test will happen next Wednesday, November 9 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time. Because the system used is an antiquated and different-sounding version of the more familiar regional alert systems, the federal agency and local law enforcement are trying to inform the population of the test in advance. Their goal is to avoid unnecessary calls to 911 and other emergency services from the many they anticipate will panic and flood emergency hotlines, blocking access for those with real emergencies.
The November 9 date was chosen, the agency says, because it is near the end of hurricane season but before winter storms set in, making it unlikely a real emergency will be occurring anywhere in the country at the time of the broadcast. The national system was set up and is maintained for the use of the President or other authorized personnel in addressing the nation should the need occur.