Emergency Alert System

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San Mateo County residents watching television or listening to the radio on the morning of Wednesday, November 9, will hear the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). 

The 11 a.m. test will provide local, state and federal authorities the opportunity to ensure vital safety information can be communicated from the nation’s capital to the public via television and radio broadcasters and cable operators. 

No action will be needed on the part of the public. The test will look very much like standard emergency alerts and will begin with three tones and the words, “This is a test.” 

Federal officials will initiate the three and half minute test from Washington, D.C. and it will activate Emergency Alert System across the nation. Once the test is completed, regular programming will resume and broadcasters, cable, and satellite providers will provide the FCC with details of their participation. 

Quick Facts:

  • Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.
  • You will hear the familiar Emergency Alert System tone and a voice say “this is a test,” and potentially see a message on your television
  • It will last less than 4 minutes
  • No action is needed or required on the part of the public 

Although the public is not required to take any action during the test, San Mateo County officials recommend residents to take the opportunity to review their own emergency plans and to update emergency supplies. County officials also urged residents to sign up for to receive local emergency alerts at www.SMCAlert.info 

SMC ALERT is an alert notification system used to immediately contact you during urgent or emergency situations with useful information and updates by sending text messages to your e-mail accounts and cell phones, smartphones and other hand-held devices. 

Contact: San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services, (650) 363-4955.