Public Safety

County Participates in National Emergency Alert System Test

Across the nation television, radio, cable and satellite stations will simultaneously interrupt regular programming Wednesday, Nov 9, and will instead play those familiar warning tones at 11 a.m. PST. A voice will announce, “This is a test.”

San Diego County will join this first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) conducted by the federal government. The test will last about 30 seconds. The test is conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as part of ongoing efforts to keep the nation safe during emergencies and to strengthen our resilience against all hazards.

“Our federal partners have asked local governments simply to help publicize the test and to assure residents that this event is only a test, and not a real emergency alert,” said Herman Reddick, interim director for the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services.”Please assist us in sharing the information about the nation-wide test with your friends and family so they will not become alarmed when the test occurs.”

This national test is important because it plays a key role in evaluating and improving the systems in place to ensure critical information can be communicated to citizens in the event of a real emergency.

The national Emergency Alert System is an alert and warning system that can be activated by the president, if needed, to provide information to the American public during emergencies.

NOAA’s National Weather Service, state governors, and state and local emergency authorities also can issue more localized alerts. Similar to emergency alert system tests that are already conducted frequently at the local level, the nationwide test will involve television and radio stations in each of the 50 states and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.

Under the Federal Communications Commission rules, radio and television broadcasters, cable operators, satellite digital audio radio service providers, direct broadcast satellite service providers and wireline video service providers are required to receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public.

This test will help federal partners and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system, as well as its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential dangers both nationally and regionally.

The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages the public to use this test as an opportunity to create a family disaster plan and create an emergency supplies kit at home. To learn more, visit

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact