The federal government will conduct its first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System at 1 p.m. Central Time Wednesday, Nov. 9. The test, which should be heard on virtually all radio and television stations, is being initiated by the Federal Com munications Com mission and the Federal Emergency Man agement Agency.

Bill Vola, emergency management director for the City of Baytown, said the test is simply an opportunity to evaluate the ability of broadcasters to relay nationwide emergency information.

While the emergency notification tone is familiar locally for its use by the National Weather Service to quickly spread word of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and other weather emergencies, there has never been a test of the system nationally.

The Emergency Alert System was created by President Harry S. Truman during the Cold War in 1951 as a way for the president to quickly notify the nation in the event of a nuclear attack or other national disaster.

The Houston Area Local Emergency Com munications Committee  said the test Nov. 9 will last three minutes, and will contain the scrolling message “The Primary Entry Point System has issued an Emergency Action Notification for Washing  ton, DC.” This refers to the fact that the 63 primary entry point radio stations, including KTRH-AM in Houston, will be notified to broadcast the message.

Other radio stations, television stations, cable providers and satellite pro viders in the Houston area are required to monitor KTRH and may re-broadcast the message voluntarily.

The LECC is trying to get the word out about the test in advance to prevent people from overwhelming the 911 system. The organization is reminding people that 911 is to be used only in emergency situations that require immediate assistance from law enforcement, fire or ambulance agencies.

During an actual emergency, information is available at http://www. readyharris.org from the Harris County Joint Info rmation Center.