In coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at 11:20 a.m. PDT. The test requires neither action nor involvement by state, county, city, or tribal emergency management personnel.
During the test, FEMA will send a national periodic test message from the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to all radio, television, and video service providers in all US States and Territories. The test message will use a new FCC required National Periodic Test (NPT) code and will sound and look very similar to the common Required Monthly and Weekly Tests seen and heard on radio and TV. All EAS participants (all AM, FM, TV, cable, video service providers, and direct satellite broadcast providers) are required to receive the NPT from FEMA and air the test message as soon as received. The test message will play an audio message and display test text on television screens for approximately one minute, after which regular programming should resume.
Broadcasters are required to provide test results and observations to the FCC, which in turn will share the results with FEMA and all the states in about a month. The interval of these National Periodic Tests has not been set yet. The FCC is thinking at least every three years; FEMA is suggesting annually during the Preparedness Month of September.