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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Was the Emergency Alert System Test a Failure? What We Can Learn from November’s Communication Mishap

Written by  TONY SCHMITZ January 6, 2012

In November of 2011, the United States Department of Homeland Security and Federal Communications Commission conducted their first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The system is a media communications-based alerting system designed to transmit emergency alerts and warnings to the American public at the national, state and local levels, regarding weather threats, child abductions, and many other types of emergencies. The system requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during those instances. In light of the many natural disasters that have struck the United States in recent years, systems like these are invaluable. However, these systems can only help us when they work properly. November’s test was designed to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert

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