ST. PAUL -- The first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System takes place at 1 p.m. today. Television and radio broadcasters, satellite radio and satellite television providers, as well as cable television and wire line video providers, will take part.
"This test will ensure that if, in the event of a national terrorist attack or other wide-ranging disaster, public safety officials and the president have the immediate ability to address the nation," said Kris Eide, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The test will be approximately 30 seconds long. Viewers and listeners will hear the exact same message indicating this is a test, but what is displayed on television screens will vary depending on what station a viewer is watching.
The Minnesota Broadcasters Association, in cooperation with federal, state and local authorities and other Emergency Alert System partners, wants to make sure listeners and viewers recognize this is just a test and is encouraging stations to air on-screen crawls before and during the test to reinforce this message. The association worked with Emergency & Community Health Outreach to also produce public service announcements which are now airing in English, Somali, Spanish and Hmong.
In the case of an actual emergency, Minnesotans would learn what actions they should take. Eide says this national test reminds us to have an emergency kit in our home and an emergency plan for our family to follow.
Homeland Security and Emergency Management will be conducting a survey following the broadcasting of the test to learn how people received this important information. That survey will be on our website hsem.dps.mn.gov.