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"This is a test of the emergency broadcast system," is a phrase heard by anyone with a television or radio.

The test are to insure that broadcast signals are working during a severe weather alert, during which listeners are advised to seek shelter and other life-saving information.

On Nov. 9, the federal government will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. The test will last up to three and a half minutes. During the test, regularly scheduled television, radio, cable and satellite shows will be interrupted.

The public is being cautioned the test will not take place if a severe weather event is already happening, said Mason County Emergency Management Director Jack Fultz.

Otherwise, the public should not panic while the test is being conducted at 2 p.m., eastern standard time.

According to information provided to Fultz through Federal Emergency Management Agency, the nation EAS is an alert and warning system that can be activated by the president if needed, to provide information to the American public during emergencies.

The test is a joint effort of FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA's National Weather Service, governors, and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts.

The test is an exercise ensuring the system is effective in communicating critical information to the public in the event of a real national emergency.

FEMA said the presidential message capability will be used in the national test.

Federal agencies are reminding the public to use the event to establish an emergency preparedness kit; emergency plan for themselves, families, communities and businesses.

The test will also allow FEMA and the FCC a chance to identify improvements that need to be made to build a modernized and fully accessible Emergency Alert System.

The test does not affect any planned tests of local outdoor warning siren systems or 911 callback systems.

Source: The Ledger Independent