WASHINGTON (CBS) – If you notice an unexpected interruption while watching TV or listening to radio Wednesday afternoon – it’s only a test.

The FCC says it is coordinating with FEMA for a mandatory nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System at 2:20 p.m. on Sept. 28.

The test is expected to last for about a minute on radio, broadcast TV, cable, satellite and other service providers. Officials say text and audio messages will make it clear it’s only a test.

“Public safety officials need to be sure that in times of an emergency or disaster, they have reliable methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public when needed,” the FCC says.

Emergency text message alerts will not be part of the test.

According to CBS Philly, this is only the second time the system has been tested nationally, and the first test didn’t go so smoothly. Some heard distortion or static on the radio, while some TV viewers were treated to a Lady Gaga song.

FEMA notes that September is National Preparedness Month, and is urging families to come up with an emergency plan just in case.

Comments (3)
  1. Amy H-Wya says:

    We are having the test alert on right now- It was about 2 minutes worth of the alert and nothing but static. No notice it was a test!

  2. Rhonda Johnson says:

    It’s been going on here for an hour and twenty minutes. Please tell them to turn it off now. We got a textual alert at the beginning but no voice alert.

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