The test begins at 2:20 p.m. EST.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national warning system in the United States put into place on January 1, 1997. The system is primarily designed to allow the president to address the country via all radio and television stations, in the event of a national emergency.

The test is scheduled to begin at 2:20 p.m. EST. The test is held to evaluate the infrastructure of a national message and to assess whether improvements are required. 

Along with the FCC, the tests also partner with radio and television stations as well as local emergency management officials.

The test holds special value this year as it will be gauging the readiness of the national alerting capability in the absence of internet connectivity. This particular test will not involve wireless devices like it did last year.

FEMA describes this year’s test as being significant and different from the nationwide tests conducted in the past as it will be issued through the National Public Warning System, composed of FEMA-designated Primary Entry Point facilities, to test the readiness of the EAS to function in the absence of internet connectivity.

The broadcast stations will come under the microscope as radio and TV stations may be held responsible for any shortcomings in receiving and relaying the National Periodic Test announcement.

Previously four tests have been conducted for the Emergency Alert System. These tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016, September 2017, and October 2018. If conditions on the day of the test require the rescheduling of the test, a secondary test date is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21, 2019.

Do you have any ideas on how to improve the Emergency Alert System? Tell us in the comments section.