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November 7, 2011

A Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 1 p.m. CST

Emergency Alert System

The City of Houston's Office of Emergency Management reminds residents that on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 1 p.m. Houston time (Central Standard Time), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be conducting the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

This system is intended to provide the President of the United States with the ability to communicate emergency information to the nation during a catastrophic incident. Testing this important system allows agencies to determine gaps in the system and help improve it to ensure that everyone has access to important emergency information.

While residents may be familiar with required weekly tests, this first-ever nationwide Emergency Alert System test may contain different elements. Audio will indicate that this is in fact a test, scrolling text across television screens may not.

Residents should not be alarmed when they see or hear the test

Residents should refrain from calling 911 to inquire about the test. 911 is reserved for emergency situations which threaten life or property and require the assistance of police, fire or emergency medical services. Calling 911 for non-emergencies may overwhelm telephone systems at local emergency call centers and prevent actual emergencies from being reported.

Houstonians should take this time to make sure that they have an emergency kit, a family emergency plan and ways to stay informed during emergency situations. Residents can find information on how to plan for emergencies, as well as sign up for AlertHouston emergency emails from the Office of Emergency Management online at

For more information on the nationwide EAS test and emergency preparedness visit or email

Office of Emergency Management

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Mailing Address:  City of Houston | P.O. Box 1562 | Houston, Texas 77251
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