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Old 10-31-2011, 09:34 PM   #1
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NATION WIDE Emergency Communications Test

A friend posted this on another forum. Since it involves each and everyone of us, I am posting it here so that there is a awareness of what is going to happen. I sent this as an email to some of my contacts. I hope you don't get caught by surprise when you have no television, etc., for 3 minutes.
=================================

Please give widest dissemination (This is not a joke, this is for real - a National Test by FEMA, DHS, and FCC.)

Wayne
==========================
On November 9th FEMA, DHS and FCC will conduct the first national test of the Nationwide Emergency Alert System test. This test will kick off at 1:00 p.m. (CST). The test will be nationwide, running concurrently across all time zones.

This system test is the first of its kind. It is designed to broadcast a nationwide message to the American public. Nothing like it has been conducted in the history of the country. There have been tests in the past but none to all parts of the Nation at the same time. The test will run concurrently on all radio and TV bands and the message will run for three minutes. Most messages in the past were anywhere from 30 second to 1 minute.

There is great concern in local police and emergency management circles about undue public anxiety over this test. The test message on TV might not indicate that it is just a test. Fear is that the lack of an explanation message might create panic. Please share this information with your family and friends so they are aware of the test.

Below is additional information, along with two websites, that will provide more information...

What will people hear and see during the Test?

During the test, listeners will hear a message indicating that "This is a test." Although the EAS Test may resemble the periodic, monthly EAS tests that most Americans are already familiar with, there will be some differences in what viewers will see and hear. The audio message will be the same for all EAS participants; however due to limitations in the EAS, the video test message scroll may not be the same or indicate that "this is a test." This is due to the use of the live EAN code - the same code that would be used in an actual emergency. The text at the top of the television screen may indicate that an "Emergency Alert Notification has been issued."

This notification is used to disseminate a national alert and in this case, the test. In addition, the background image that appears on video screens during an alert may indicate that "this is a test," but in some instances there might not be an image at all.

There are several limitations to the current EAS for individuals with access and functional needs. FEMA and the FCC are committed to providing organizations and the EAS community with information well in advance of the Test. FEMA and the FCC will further engage the EAS community to better understand the wide range of information and access needs in preparation for the national EAS. IPAWS has been performing outreach to access and functional needs organizations in several different forums, including working groups and roundtables led by the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, with representation from multiple FEMA program offices, other Department of Homeland Security components, and other Federal Departments and Agencies.

FEMA: Nationwide EAS Test

https://nationaldialogue-emergencyal...ideascale.com/
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:52 PM   #2
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:58 PM   #3
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I saw a post on this and seen odd. Will check into it tomorrow. I oversee emergency communications for a hospital and healthcare system. I have not received any communication on this test.

Will post any updates I get.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:04 PM   #4
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Thanks TAZ. The FEMA Link I provide has some details. I really believe this is going to happen. I just don't know how much of an impact it is going to have. I first heard of this from a single person (1 peep) and it was stated at the time that they would shut down all communications. That to me is a lot. How would it affect 911 calls, or medical alert systems. Hopefully it is not as intensive as this one person stated. So the post I made is more realistic, but I'm not really sure as to what extent the "communities" are getting involved.

Appreciate what you find.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:16 PM   #5
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Hey Top

I get e-mails from the Salvation Army (they have an Emergency Network of Ham Operators) I got this from ARRL
FCC, FEMA, NOAA to Conduct First Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert System

TAGS: Emergency Alert System, federal emergency management agency, fema, minutes, PM EST
10/25/2011 The FCC, in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) at 2 PM EST (1900 UTC) Wednesday, November 9. According to FEMA, EAS participants -- broadcasters, satellite and digital radio and television providers, and cable and wireline video providers -- “provide a critical public service to the nation as the resilient backbone of alert and warning when all other means of communication are unavailable.”
During the test -- which should last approximately three minutes -- listeners will hear a message indicating that “This is a test.” Although the EAS test may resemble the periodic monthly EAS tests that most Americans are already familiar with, there will be some differences in what viewers will see and hear. The audio message will be the same for all EAS participants.
“Due to limitations in the EAS, the video test message scroll may not be the same or indicate that ‘This is a test,’ FEMA advised on its website. “This is due to the use of the live EAN code -- the same code that would be used in an actual emergency. The text at the top of the television screen may indicate that an ‘Emergency Action Notification has been issued.’ This notification is used to disseminate a national alert and in this case, the test. In addition, the background image that appears on video screens during an alert may indicate that ‘This is a test,’ but in some instances there might not be an image at all.”
According to the FCC, the Commission and FEMA plan to reach out to organizations representing people with hearing disabilities to prepare that community for the national test. In addition, FEMA and the FCC will work with EAS participants to explore whether there are solutions to address this limitation.
The test will last for approximately three minutes; however this may vary across the country. “While state and local EAS messages are limited to two minutes, there is no time limit for national EAS alerts,” FEMA said. “To evaluate whether the system properly interprets the national message code in the national EAS test, the message duration must be longer than two minutes.”
Although local and state components of the EAS are tested on a weekly and monthly basis, there has never been an end-to-end nationwide test of the system. We need to know that the system will work as intended should public safety officials ever need to send an alert or warning to a large region of the United States. Only a complete, top-down test of the EAS can provide an appropriate diagnosis of the system’s performance.
The FCC explained that in order to minimize disruption and confusion during the EAS test, it is being conducted on November 9 “because this date is near the end of hurricane season and before the severe winter weather season begins. The 2 PM EST broadcast will minimize disruption during rush hours while ensuring that the test occurs during working hours across the country.”


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Old 11-01-2011, 06:57 AM   #6
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Wayne, thanks for posting this. I heard about it a little while back, and I never thought about posting it here to alert others. In fact, I forgot all about it.

Local stations conduct emergency broadcast tests all the time, but never all at the same time, and I don't think the tests usually last a full 3 minutes (or possibly more). Having been reminded about it, I won't be wondering what the heck is going on.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:29 PM   #7
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Wow... It is fact and not as well publicized as it should be. Several EMS staff were not aware of the pending event.

I guess FEMA has a lot of faith in the social networks. Got to wonder if it is not also a test of the reach of our social networks. That can be good and bad.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:59 PM   #8
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Since a very large part of the population goes online for their news and entertainment I'm not sure how useful this test will be. I don't know anyone who listens to commercial radio anymore and television is steadily being replaced by streaming off the internet. I know I watch almost no TV anymore.
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:08 PM   #9
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Thanks, Wayne M. I watch local/national news around dinner-time. One would think that there would at least have been a news story on it, but not a peep. I think vast majority of the public will be unaware of this test.

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Old 11-02-2011, 10:26 AM   #10
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I'm not going to quote some posts, but concerns are probably in order.

W6PEA - The part about the emergency broadcast messages possibly not having a "This is a test" message broadcast with the EAN can give this an Orson Wells sort of effect. That is a good reason to publicize this event.

Paz - most of the past emergency broadcasts have been one minute in duration and typically consisted of a broadcast tone and the words, "This is a test." It is going to be interesting to see how this all pans out.

Taz - I guess it will be a good test of our social network. When one thinks back to "emergency" situations, the social network does work. If 5 people send/call 5 people, who in turn send/call 5 people. It is not to long before the population of the Earth has been exceeded. I guess I'll have to go stand in the street for the OF's that come running out of their houses shouting "The sky is falling." Oh! wait! I am an OF!

Burns - Your statement of how useful it is to broadcast by commercial means is one of the questions I had, and I'm wondering just how deep they are willing to tell us that they can go to get the message out. It is possible with today's technology to send a pop-up - but do they want to go to that extreme.

Lori - very, very little. Maybe they are saving it up for when there is no "trial" in the news. Of course they can wait until the night before. You know, watch the news at noon the day before so they can tell you that they have something important to tell you at 10 o'clock. Little teasers.
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:26 PM   #11
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I actually hear the 1st PSA about the test during today's noon news. At least they're STARTING to inform the public.

Lori-
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