Throughout the nation on November 9th at 2pm (eastern), virtually every radio and TV station, and cable outlet will simultaneously air a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). To help test the test, a statewide test was conducted in Nevada this week using much the same process as the upcoming national test.
There were a few glitches here and there, as expected. But, the chair of the Nevada Emergency Communications Committee was quite pleased with the result. Adrienne Abbot told Leslie Stimson of the on-line publication Radio World, "We had a wonderful experience."
Abbott said some of the few problems reported were related to use of new, digital EAS equipment stations have installed to get ready for a federal mandate. (See our previous post here.) She told Radio World, "I can't say whether it's better or worse, its just different".
Hopefully, the good words about the Nevada test are a sign of what's ahead for the big national test November 9th. Officials involved have said they don't anticipate perfect results from the test. In fact, I think they'd feel they missed something if results are only positive. They hope to learn from the national test, and build from there.
One of the things that could get in the way of a good learning experience will be if the public over-reacts to the test. After all, this will the first time ever programming has been interrupted nationwide at the same time for an EAS test.
FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program has put together a kit to help public safety officials and others educate the public. (See our previous post here.) Meantime, the clock is ticking. November 9th will be here real soon.
All the best,