1st Nationwide EAS Test: Pass or Fail?
Posted by sfdemkristin
Last week’s first ever nationwide simultaneous test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) was a major milestone for alert, notification and warning. A nationwide anything is a huge undertaking. Congrats to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for making it happen.
We asked our social media fans and followers what they experienced and many shared their thoughts. There was some inconsistencies in how long the test lasted and some stations did not run the test at all. So, now we know. That’s the point of the test, as FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate succinctly said, “If we don’t test it, we don’t know what we need to fix.”
FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen said “The nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System test was administered and the FCC and FEMA are currently collecting data about the results. This initial test was the first time we have tested the reach and scope of this technology and what additional improvements that should be made to the system as we move forward. Only through comprehensively testing, analyzing, and improving these technologies can we ensure an effective and reliable national emergency alert and warning system.”
We at DEM were primarily focused on getting the word out about the test. Because of some technical challenges we knew there could be some who would not understand the “this is a test” message due to hearing disabilities or limited English proficiency.
That the test did not run on every station is something we will leave to the technical experts; however, communicating to our audiences what to expect was the real test for us. And of particular note, thanks to social media we live in an era where we could ask our audience what they experienced, and actually heard back! For this reason at a minimum, we think the nationwide EAS test was worth the effort and enthusiastically give it a passing grade.