This is only a test. Right? Right.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and some other guy


Unless, by some horrific coincidence, something really bad happens at the same time.  Then we're screwed,

Wednesday at 2pm ET, in partnership with the FCC and local and national broadcasters, FEMA is participating in a national test of the Emergency Alert System.  This will be the first nationwide test and will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline video service providers across all states and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.

The test will not involve other communication devices such as the Internet, LAN and mobile telephones. No other communications networks or devices will be impacted by the test, meaning that people will be able to continue use their cell phones, the internet and other communications channels during the test. There will be no disruption of those services.

Here’s the rub: some TV stations across the country may not have the ability to change the text seen on screens within their viewing area to read “This is only a test”.  They will only have a voice saying it’s just a test.  This is a limitation of the old system.  Sight- and hearing-impaired citizens may be alarmed by what they may think is an actual emergency.

FEMA and the FCC are actively developing a new system which would address this and other issues, including those which may affect disabled people.

FEMA is trying to spread the word to those persons who may be alarmed by what they may think is an actual emergency.  If you know anyone who may be affected by this limitation, please let them know that this is only a test.

As the nationwide test takes place, this is an excellent opportunity to take a quick look at your personal disaster plan.  What actions would you take in the event of a true emergency?  Are you prepared to move quickly with the items you’ll need should you be directed to do so?  Alternatively, are you prepared to shelter in place (SIP) for a period of 3-6 days?  What items would you really wish you had that you could lay hands on now BEFORE the event? 

Check out for useful information on how to ready yourself and your family (not ‘if’ but) when the next emergency surprises you!

So don't worry when the test occurs.  It should be only about 30 seconds, then Maury will be right back with the DNA findings and lie detector results…

1 Comment

  • Anonymous says:

    This is being brought to us by the same people who cannot admit problems with responses to emergencies and who can’t admit that their softwre for grant reporting was flawed…

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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago

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