There's going to be a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System this week on Wednesday at noon. Chris Jones, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, says this the first national test of an alert system that was conceived of decades ago but never attempted.

Old idea, new technology:

"It was designed initially so the president could broadcast to the nation simultaneously across all different types of broadcast networks. But it's never needed to be used, so finally somebody decided at FEMA and the FCC that it was time to maybe test this system and see if it works."

Mr. Jones says most people recognize the alert system from their local weather event bulletins.

This is only a test:

"Most listeners and viewers of the media are used to seeing weather alerts as the primary use of the Emergency Alert System and so we know that it works locally for the those reasons but we've never tested it on a nationwide level. Wednesday November 9th, 12 noon Mountain Standard Time, they said 30 to 60 seconds. The FCC and FEMA on Thursday decided that would be revised to a 30- to 60-second test."