This is a test. This is only a test.
For the first time in history, everyone in the United States will simultaneously hear these words on every radio station and see them on every television channel.
It happens at 2 p.m. Wednesday when the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Communications Commission, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conduct a joint 30-second test of the nationwide Emergency Alert System. Previously, tests were conducted station by station.
“This historic test is happening at a time when our nation is ever more vigilant against man-made and natural disasters,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson explained.
But don’t be alarmed by the red bar on your screen and the radio message. The test was created only to help the federal government, state agencies and first responders ensure the reliability of the emergency alert system.
It really is only a test. So, why is it happening now?
“What we have right now is a system in place that has the capacity to do this, along with the consent and agreement from the FCC,” Ted Quisenberry, manager of homeland security for Oakland County, told WWJ Newsradio. “Now they have the capability to expand it nationwide.”
There’s no reason to panic or call emergency personnel. But it is the perfect time for residents, businesses, schools and communities to update their emergency preparedness plans, local officials said.
Quisenberry suggested that residents use the test as a reminder to make sure they have medical supplies and non-perishable food in the house.
“Try to have sufficient enough medical needs — food, water, whatever — to sustain yourself for 72 hours,” Quisenberry said. “(In an emergency) government isn’t going to be able to come over and respond to every house. We want people to be able to take care of themselves until the incident has been stabilized enough to take care of those most in need.”
Information on how to develop an emergency preparedness plan and create an emergency kit can be obtained at www.oakgov.com/homelandsecurity or by calling Oakland County Homeland Security Division at 248-858-5300.