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So now that the National EAS test is over, many of you may be wondering…what next? Got feedback for FEMA?

November 18, 2011

I was a little surprised to not hear or see many comments after the big, first national EAS exercise. I did however read one “interesting” article about it that was divided into the old good new/bad news categories.

The good news? The test was delivered successfully to both the Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations and via the National Public Radio (NPR) Squawk Channel, a background channel used to supplement the feed of the over-the-air PEP stations.

The bad news? Unfortunately most areas of the country reported there were issues with double audio being delivered, with a second EAS Header Code starting about 15 seconds into the alert and double audio continuing for the duration of the 30-second test. While some PEP stations reported the test sounded fine, other PEP stations sent the EAS Header Code but had no audio of the test in states such as Minnesota and Indiana, and other PEP stations such as the one in Utah never received the test.

The comment I thought was amazing was this one…It was also reported that the system used for originating the test at FEMA had a clock that was apparently running 3 minutes fast, as the test was issued at 2:00PM ET but the time stamp said it was issued at 2:03PM ET. Huh?!?!?!?! 

While it seems FEMA has some issues to iron out with the test origination, there were positive reports from many states across the country that received the test and forwarded it out to all stations in the state properly. So while the audio was less than desirable, it is encouraging to hear of many states that have a well-functioning State EAS Network which will be ready to relay a hopeful cleaner test the next time around.

FEMA will be spending the next few weeks gathering test result data from the test’s participants, and feedback from all of the stakeholders. Under the FCC’s rules, test participants have 45 days from the date of the test to analyze their data and provide a full report to the FCC on the scope and reach of the test.

In the meantime, FEMA is also interested in hearing from any stakeholders who want to share feedback about how the test worked and suggestions for improvement.  You can reach FEMA at ipaws@dhs.gov with any tips, suggestions or input you may have.

http://blog.fema.gov/2011/11/emergency-alert-system-has-been-tested.html

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/stay-calm-it-is-just-a-test-probably/?scp=1&sq=%22It%20Was%20Only%20a%20Test,%20but%20What%20a%20Test!%20&st=cse

http://radiomagonline.com/studio_audio/EAS/femas_centeno_thoughts_national_eas_test_1114/

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2011 15:35

    I had a hard time finding a radio station running the test(Mendocino County) . . . finally found one half way through the test. FOX TV News reported later that afternoon that some stations were playing a “Gaga” soundtrack during the test … that sounded a bit strange. Was this test not taken seriously? That would be sad.

    • November 19, 2011 08:16

      You raise a great question about how seriously the test was taken. It is one of those things that people joke about however it will be an essential communication tool when another national disaster occurs.

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