It’s only a test, but nerves are somewhat frayed over the first nationwide exercise of the system designed to alert Americans of national emergencies.
The test occurs at 1900 GMT Wednesday, November 9, and may last over three minutes — longer than the typical 30 seconds or one minute for most broadcast test messages.
According to a message being circulated by local school and government officials, there is “great concern in local police and emergency management circles about undue public anxiety over this test.”
“The test message on TV might not indicate that it is just a test,” according to one email being circulated by a Washington area school district.
“Fear is that the lack of an explanation message might create panic. Please share this information with your family and friends so they are aware of the test.”
“We’re asking everyone to join us by spreading the word to your neighbors, co-workers, friends and family… please remember: don’t stress; it’s only a test,” FEMA said in a blog post.