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FEMA Shortens National EAS Test [AUDIO]

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shortens Wednesday’s first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The EAS test, scheduled to sound off at 2 p.m. eastern and will occur simultaneously across the U.S. and its territories, was reduced from 3 to 3 1/2 minutes to just 30 seconds.

State Police Lieutenant Steven Jones says when people hear the EAS tones know that “that’s the sound of preparation”. “When people hear this test basically that’s good news. That means we’re out there protecting everybody and testing the system. So that should that emergency notification be needed, we know that it works.”

In a press release FEMA officials say” the test will appear on all broadcast radio and television stations, cable television systems, satellite radio and television systems and wireline video service systems. The test will not impact landline or mobile phones, power grids or internet connectivity.”

Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Cynthia Scott says when the test was 3 1/2 minutes, there was concern that it would cause some public panic prompting an increase in calls to the 9-1-1 call center. Scott says they notified the call center staff so they could make preparations for a possible influx. “But with a 30 second test of the Emergency Alert System being conducted and it being similar to the frequent local testing of the Emergency Alert System, we don’t anticipate a huge volume of calls in regards to the matter.”

However Scott says “we are asking people to please not call 9-1-1 to inquire about the alert. As always, call 9-1-1 to report an emergency.”

FEMA says the test is a part of their ongoing effort to keep our country safe during emergencies. The test is being conducted by FEMA in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Get more information from FEMA’s website.

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