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First Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System to Take Place November 9, 2PM

A message from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the US Department of Health and Human Services



Test to Take Place November 9 at 2 p.m. EDT

Dear Colleagues;

We need your assistance in notifying everyone about the November 9th nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.  Please help distribute this to all your stakeholders, as far and wide as possible, to ensure the entire community is aware that

As part of our larger efforts to strengthen our nation’s preparedness and resiliency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct the first nation-wide test of the Emergency Alert System on November 9th at 2pm Eastern Standard Time.

The national Emergency Alert System is an alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States, if needed, to address the American public during emergencies.  It is another critical communications tool that can protect the public and strengthen our nation’s resiliency.  The National Weather Service, governors, and state and local authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts.  The test is an important exercise in ensuring that the system is effective in communicating critical information to the public in the event of a real national emergency.

This national test will help federal partners and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system, as well as its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential disasters both nationally and regionally.  The test will also provide the FCC and FEMA a chance to identify improvements that are needed to build a new, modernized, and fully accessible Emergency Alert System.

To support the disability community, FEMA has developed a toolkit that will allow you to reach out to your constituents and local partners.  The toolkits, attached here in multiple formats, allow you and your organization to quickly disseminate information about this test.

 In addition, we’re also releasing two new videos created to support the outreach efforts of our disability community partners.   FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has long been a champion of the whole community and ensuring that FEMA represents the diversity of the people we serve.  In one video, Neil Mc Devitt, from FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination joins Administrator Fugate in outlining the need for the upcoming Emergency Alert System test and the accessibility challenges posed by the test.   The video has American Sign Language, open-captions, and is voiced throughout.   We’re also happy to provide a Spanish version of the message with open-captions.

If you have additional questions for FEMA-Office of Disability Integration and Coordination questions, please contact our office at


Marci Roth
Office of Disability Integration and Coordination

 FEMA Administrator’s Message –

 ASL Video:

 Spanish Video:

Emergency Preparedness for Special Need Patients

The Medical Society of New Jersey is providing emergency preparedness information for physicians who treat patients with special medical needs.  Physicians can assist their patients with special medical needs to prepare for evacuation by referring them to county based emergency medical services in advance of a disaster.  Below is a summary of resources.

Mary Goepfert, MPA, APR, CPM, External Affairs Officer, NJ Office of Emergency Management presented at the August 11, 2011, PSP Meeting and her power point Assisting People with Disabilities during Large-Scale Emergencies and Disasters is available on the MSNJ website  As in all situations, planning is the key for the patient and their family.

The special need patients need to have a GO KIT.  Listed below are some items that the individual needs to have ready in addition to basic supplies of water, food, flashlight, whistle or bell for alerting other to your whereabouts, batteries, basic first aid supplies and supplies for pets. Another suggestion is having their identification, medical information and personal contacts on a computer thumb drive.


  • Identification, medical insurance cards, physician contact information
  • Written medical descriptions of the disability and support needs
  • Copies of medical prescriptions
  • List of personal contacts
  • List of allergies and health history
  • Medical alert tags or bracelets
  • Extra medicine, oxygen, insulin, catheters or other medical supplies used regularly
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids
  • Batteries – for adaptive equipment
  • A light weight, collapsible wheel chair

Sign up on the NJ Register Ready website. This website collects data on special need individuals to provide information to the emergency response agencies.

Each county in the state has an office on emergency management. Please refer to the following websites for more detail information.