At the beginning of the week, I posted a note about the planned test of the national Emergency Alert System [EAS] on Wednesday, November 9. The EAS is supposed to allow emergency messages to be sent out on all broadcast and cable TV channels, and on radio stations.
The test was carried out at 2:00 PM EST Wednesday, as planned, but things did not go entirely as hoped, according to a report at Bloomberg News.
A disaster-warning system that was supposed to be carried on radio and television didn’t work in some parts of the U.S. during its first national test, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA is still collecting and evaluating the results of the test, but has said that the message was not delivered at all in parts of Oregon and New Mexico. In some other areas, there were problems with the audio portion of the test message. (Some Direct TV subscribers reported hearing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” during the test — presumably not the intended audio component.)
The FEMA Blog has a statement issued following the test. It is of course tempting to make fun of the problems encountered in an exercise like this; but, after all, large, complex systems rarely work perfectly the first time they are tried. That is why we test them.