Federal agencies will conduct a simultaneous, nationwide test tomorrow afternoon of the Emergency Alert System. The Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) want to see how that system will perform in a national emergency.  The test will take place at 1:00 p.m. central.

State Public Safety Department spokesman Mike O’Connel says the public should not be alarmed by the alert, which will be unusual for a couple of reasons. Typically, tests are conducted locally and often by individual stations. In this case, a person changing between broadcasts should hear an emergency message on each, which might seem like a true emergency even though it is not.

Another concern is that some of the technologies involved in this test may not work together properly. That could result in the words “this is a test” not being a part of the message on all stations.

The test will last for 30 seconds, though O’Connel says some early announcements said it would last for over 3 minutes.

See FEMA’s page with more information on the test here.