This is only a test. Seriously.
That’s what the Federal Emergency Management Agency wants the public to know about the first nationwide test of the emergency alert system, scheduled for Wednesday.
The decades-old warning system is often tested locally, but it’s never been tested on every radio and TV station in the country at the same time, according to FEMA.
The agency is trying to get the word out about the test to avoid unnecessary alarm like, say, the panic caused by Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast of a fictional Martian invasion in New Jersey.
Officials also want to prevent the test from tying up 911 phone lines.
“We have alerted our 911 call centers about the possibility for increased call volume during the Nov. 9 test,’’ Alisa Simmons, a spokeswoman for the 911 network in Tarrant County, Texas, said in a statement appealing to the public not to call to inquire about the exercise.