WASHINGTON: The Federal Emergency Management Agency today notified participants in the upcoming nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System that it will run just 30 seconds rather than two-and-a-half minutes as originally planned.
The test, scheduled for Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern, will be the first official test of a Presidential Emergency Action Notification. All broadcast radio and TV stations must take part in the tests along with participating cable and satellite operators. The national alert system relies on a daisy-chain architecture whereby the EAN is transmitted to designated radio stations that are monitored by State Primaries, which in turn retransmit the alert to Local Primaries that notify all other broadcast and cable participants. The United States is divided into 550 local EAS areas, each with at least two Local Primaries monitoring two sources for presidential alerts. A single failure within the system can leave hundreds of participants out of the loop.