Alaska tests nation's emergency alert system
2010-01-07 0:00

By Rachel D'Oro | YahooNews.com


Radio listeners and TV viewers in Alaska witnessed the first national emergency exercise of its kind Wednesday morning, but the test ran into distribution problems around the state.

Radio, television and some cable providers participated in a live statewide test of the nation's Emergency Alert System, which employed a never-used code that would be applied in a national crisis.

"A national emergency action notification has been issued for: District of Columbia, DC," ran a red message banner at the top of the television screen to stations not beset by several reported glitches.

Filling the rest of the screen was a scene of a snowy, wooded mountain, superimposed by a large red stop sign and the words, "Chill! It is just a drill."
The 10 a.m. Alaska Standard Time test will help officials prepare for a future national exercise not yet scheduled, according to state and federal officials.

"We will need some time to analyze the results, but we intend to move quickly to improve the system," Jamie Barnett, chief of the Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said afterward in a statement.

The three-minute airing — activated from Washington, D.C., by the Federal Emergency Management Agency — was unlike regular periodic tests aired by broadcasters in communities or within state lines. It was the first official activation of the Emergency Action Notification code, to be activated nationwide only by the White House to give the president access to airwaves during a real crisis.

The alert system has been in place since the mid-1990s, replacing an older emergency communications system.

The president's notification code has never been activated for any crisis, said Damon Penn, FEMA's assistant administrator of National Continuity Programs. The code would be crucial in a widespread disaster, so even 9/11 didn't trigger it, he said.

"It was not deemed necessary to issue a nationwide alert," he said. "That disaster did not limit any communications."

Officials considered the test "absolutely successful," with a few anomalies found as expected, said Bryan Fisher, chief of operations at the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Some broadcasters did not receive the signal in time and others got a weak connection or only the audio portion of the exercise.

For example, statewide cable provider GCI — with 130,000 subscribers — didn't receive the initial launch signal, although it did get the disconnect signal, company spokesman David Morris said.

Participants will spend the next weeks, or even months, working through the problems, Fisher said. He said glitches could be blamed on various factors, such as old equipment or flaws with programming or audio levels.
Participant said the exercise has been in the planning since September. The Alaska Broadcasters Association developed public service announcements on the exercise that began airing Dec. 21, said the association's executive director, Darlene Simono.

Alaska was chosen for the initial test run for several reasons, Fisher said. Alaska is well-versed in similar exercises conducted through the national public warning system to test tsunami warnings and Amber Alerts within the largest state in the country.

Alaska's extreme isolation also cuts down on the chance of the test reaching beyond state lines and potentially causing confusion, Fisher said.

Article from: YahooNews.com




Video from: YouTube.com



Emergency Alert System (EAS)

By Mu Xuequan | ChinaView.cn

Alaska on Wednesday became the first state in the United States to host test of a national emergency alert system on its capabilities to allow the U.S. president to address the whole nation during a crisis, local media reported.

At about 10 a.m. local time, test alert lasting about three minutes was heard on the radio and seen on local and cable TV, the Anchorage Daily News said in a report on the newspaper's website.

The statewide exercise of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) was jointly conducted by federal and state agencies as well as the Alaska Broadcasters' Association.

The EAS is a national public warning system designed to enable the U.S. president to address the American public during a national emergency.

Regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, the EAS is administered by the Department of Homeland Security through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

According to other media reports, Wednesday's test in Alaska included the first official activation of the Emergency Action Notification, an event code used by the EAS to signify a federal activation of the system, which is technically reserved solely for the U.S. president.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the FEMA confirmed that Wednesday's exercise "will test the Presidential alert and warning capabilities over radio and television broadcast stations and cable television systems only."

"Periodically exercising our communications capabilities is an important step to ensure that we, as a country, are prepared for an emergency," said Craig Fugate, the administrator of the FEMA.

Alaska was chosen to be the first state to test the Emergency Action Notification because of its isolation and Alaskans' familiarity with tsunami tests, according to the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.




Related Articles
FEMA National Disaster Drill July 27 through 31 2009 (Video)
Alaska Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management
Major Hasan Of Fort Hood: A Patsy In A Drill Gone Live?
Joint U.S.-Israeli Drill: Preparation for Iran Attack?
WTC emergency drill evokes memories of Sept. 11
Urban Warfare Drills Linked To Coming Economic Rage
Chicago Citizens Reject Terror Drill Fearmongering
FEMA To Help Run 8-Day Disaster & Terror Drill
Noble Resolve 07: April 23-27, nuclear terror drills in USA (Video)
Coast guard exercise on 9/11 anniversary sparks confusion


Latest News from our Front Page

Do Many Neocons Just Hate All Europeans?
2015-02-01 22:21
Marxis Neocon Charles Krauthammer A few months ago I encountered at a conference an eminent Straussian scholar who teaches at an Ivy League institution, and he almost immediately launched into a tirade against “the Europeans,” who are at the point of “finishing Hitler’s work.” The only exception that my interlocutor would concede to this sweeping statement was for the English “who ...
Swedish Feminists Drink Blood
2015-02-01 21:44
Swedish Feminists drink menstrual blood to fight the Patriarchy! Here is the story from alltomstockholm.se as translated by Google (English not 100% correct) A feast to celebrate the woman - and your period Menstruation - and this year's celebration. Theatre Bristol salute month's bloodiest weeks and cause menstrual celebration of International Women's Day. - We will offer menstrual drinks, says Daniela Kullman. On International Women's Day ...
'What do we need this war for?' Ukrainians flee from 100k army draft
2015-02-01 21:12
With the heavy fighting taking its toll on the Ukrainian army, another military draft is underway - the fourth within less than a year. It's the largest one to date - set to get 100k people into the military. This includes everyone up to the age of 60, with a voluntary mobilization for women. Fleeing the draft some are getting ...
Gunman Storms Dutch TV Station Demanding Airtime
2015-01-30 23:32
Dutch authorities have released few details about the bizarre case of 19-year-old Tarik Zahzah’s attack on the main news studio of television station NOS on Thursday. To get the obvious question out of the way first, the police say there is no evidence that Zahzah, who is half-Egyptian, acted on behalf of organized terrorism. The authorities always say that on the ...
How Alan Dershowitz bullied rape victims to protect a serial child molester
2015-01-30 23:40
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself. Dershowitz and the UK’s Prince Andrew were accused in a recent court filing of raping a teenage girl who was forced into sexual slavery by ...
More News »