Various Problems Found in EAS Test

FEMA is gathering reports from test participants and asking stakeholders to send tips and suggestions. Many are suggesting incorporating social media and smart phones next time.

The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System that took place on Nov. 9 produced the desired result, according to FEMA: It identified gaps and will allow FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission to figure out how to fix them. FEMA is still gathering reports from participants and has asked stakeholders to send tips and suggestions. Many are suggesting incorporating social media and smart phones next time.

Damon Penn, assistant administrator of National Continuity Programs for FEMA, posted a recap on an agency blog on the evening of Nov. 9 thanking participants and explaining the next steps.

"As we have been explaining throughout this process, this initial test was the first time we have gotten a sense of the reach and scope of this technology," he wrote. "It was our opportunity to get a sense of what worked, what didn't and additional improvements that need to be made to the system as we move forward. It's only through comprehensively testing, analyzing, and improving these technologies that we can ensure the most effective and reliable emergency alert and warning systems available at a moment's notice in a time of real national emergency. This nationwide test served the purpose for which it was intended -– to identify gaps and generate a comprehensive set of data to help strengthen our ability to communicate during real emergencies. Based on preliminary data, media outlets in large portions of the country successfully received the test message, but it wasn't received by some viewers or listeners."

Penn said FEMA wants to hear from stakeholders who want to share feedback about how the test worked and ways to improve it. Those comments can be e-mailed to ipaws@dhs.gov.

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