Residents should not be alarmed when the first-ever Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System begins at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, according to a city-parish news release.

The test, conducted jointly by FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, could last up to three and a half minutes, and will begin with a message indicating, “This is a test.” The audio message will be the same for radio, broadcast television and cable television.

The national Emergency Alert System is a public alert and warning system that allows the President of the United States to address the public during extreme emergencies. Similar to local Emergency Alert Systems tests, the Nationwide Test will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline providers across all states and territories.

Ongoing national preparedness planning efforts for the national test has been in the works for about two years, and involved FEMA, the FCC and other federal partners, state and local governments, Emergency Alert System participants and others.

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