This is Only a Test

A Test is No Cause for Panic
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency wants the public to know that Wednesday will be the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. The EAS is often tested locally, but this will be the first time that FEMA will test the system on all television and radio stations simultaneously.  FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are all involved in the testing. FEMA wants everyone to remember that despite the large amount of outreach, or how plain the language is that accompanies the test alert, it’s likely that some confusion will still be apparent.  Confused citizens might try to contact police, fire, or other emergency services through calls to their local 911 centers.

FCC rules dictate that radio and television broadcasters, cable operators, satellite digital audio radio service providers and wire line video service providers be able to receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public. FEMA and the FCC want to ensure that the deaf and those hard of hearing, people with cognitive or mental health concerns, senior citizens, and people not proficient in English are aware of it. “You may not see the familiar test banner crawling across your screens. We want you to know this is a test,” FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said in a recent video posted on FEMA’s website. So why are they conducting the test now? In order to minimize disruption and confusion during the EAS test, FEMA is conducting it  on November 9 because this date is near the end of hurricane season and before the severe winter weather season begins. The 2 p.m. EST broadcast will minimize disruption during rush hours while ensuring that the test occurs during working hours across the country.

A Test is No Cause for Panic
A Test is No Cause for Panic

Cheaper Than Dirt feels that this test is a perfect time to replace and replenish supplies that are nearing their expiration dates in personal emergency kits. We recommend keeping bottled water, canned food, flashlights, batteries, first aid kits and other items on hand. Citizens should keep enough to last three days without power or water. The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA are working on expanding the EAS by developing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which will allow FEMA to disperse nationwide alerts  to wireless mobile devices and phones.

This test is very important and will exercise our ability as a nation to respond to a large-scale national emergency. Terrorist attacks, bombings, natural disasters, zombies, and other biological outbreaks are all too possible in the modern era. The better we are able to spread the word when something goes wrong, the better our chances of survival. Early warning is the best defense against widespread disasters and that’s what designers created the EAS to do, let the public know and inform them on the best way to remain safe. So tomorrow at 1:00 pm, central time, be ready to hear that familiar sound over the broadcast networks, and remember that this is only a test.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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