The first ever test of the Nationwide Emergency Alert System is planned for this afternoon.  At 1 p.m., all broadcasters, cable TV, video providers, and satellite media will sound the alert.  If you're watching TV, don't be alarmed because the system will not inform you that it's just a test.  That's because there are limitations in the system. 

The purpose of the test today is to assess the readiness and effectiveness of the current system and identify incremental improvements that can be made.  Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Patti Thompson.

Thompson comments

The idea is that it could be used for the president to address the American public if there were an extreme national emergency.  The test should last about 1 minute.

(Metro News/IIS/WBGZ-ME)