2:20 PM on Wednesday

If you want to catch the United States off guard, that would be the time to do something.

You may remember earlier in the Obama years, FEMA and the FCC conducted a mandatory test of the national Emergency Alert System. While the National EAS system is based on the same system that gives you warnings of tornadoes and such things, the National Alert is different in several important ways:

Carrying national alerts is mandatory, immediate and automatic. No matter what is going on, the President has immediate and complete control – not only radio and TV, but SiriusXM, DishTV, DirecTV, your local Cable TV system, and now your mobile phone. Once the Internet of Things is built, It is logical to think that the light bulbs in your home will start flashing in special colors to get your attention.

The non national EAS alerts are generally coordinated by state broadcast associations and state agencies who designate certain stations that can be reliable hubs. The activate signal “beep scratch scratch… Had this been an actual emergency” is relayed from big stations to small stations. While stations at the end points must log local tests, they don’t have to break into live programming to air the test nor are they required to carry actual warnings live or at all.

So Wednesday is a partial national test. The real national EAS message will go out, but only to 22 selected states. The one and only real national test went poorly. Message distribution works differently for the entire country since it is more complicated.

A few regional broadcasters have a special responsibility called being a Primary Entry Point. Upon receiving the header for a national alert, the PEP connects to a central communications bridge controlled by the White House and broadcasts the alert outward until (hopefully) every broadcast outlet in the country is standing by to hear the White House announce something really really important. This capability was not used on 9/11, but the pretense that EAS is useful carries on. Realistically, there is no national event that would be less severe by warning the public. If Russian ICBMs are incoming, 8 million people trying to flee New York City will just kill a lot of panicked people and prevent actual emergency responders from doing useful things.

Sit back and enjoy. Remember – bright flash, duck and cover.

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9 Responses to 2:20 PM on Wednesday

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Here is the list of the 24 of the 58 states

    Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and Washington.

    – See more at: http://www.radioworld.com/article/big-regional-eas-test-is-wednesday/278196#.dpuf

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    More details
    http://www.thebdr.net/articles/fcc/eas/eas.html#NatTest

    WCCO was the screwup PEP

    EAS was expanded under the name of IPAWS to incorporate the non broadcast participants. It added things like making sure deaf people get the messages

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    The first national test was a disaster other than pointing out the problems. The phone bridge did not have the PEPs muted, and one PEP was feeding the alert back into the bridge on delay. That caused the message to be overlaid like a caller listening to their radio while waiting on hold. The header was sent back out and every PEP got the start of the message header again.

    The actual test in 2011 begins about 6 minutes into this video
    http://youtu.be/bMhEET6r30A

    Because people are stupid, there was a huge concern people would react negatively if the test sounded too real – like hearing Barack Obama’s voice. The test didn’t actually originate from the White House, but some other government site. So even if the President wanted to tell the nation he had just launched all the nuclear Arsenal at the United States, the most critical link wasn’t tested.

    There are vague plans to have a full 58 state test of EAS later in the year. That might be when President Obama declares a national emergency, suspends the Constitution and orders everyone to turn in your guns at the local post office within 24 hours, and puts the black panther party in charge of the FEMA camps. Now that would be creepy!

  4. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    > If Russian ICBMs are incoming, 8 million people trying to flee New York City will just kill a lot of panicked people and prevent actual emergency responders from doing useful things.

    If Russian ICBMs are incoming, you will see the political class (politicians and their doners) quietly leave NYC in a big hurry while no one else is the wiser. If you doubt me, look at how the price of oil spiked up sharply in the days before Saddam surprised the world and invaded Kuwait- someone knew and someone made big bucks from knowing… and it wasn’t your average person receiving and EAS notification.

  5. Parrott says:

    Some of these things I read about, are just ‘Bat Guano Crazy’ .
    Maybe we should go back to having a Telegraph Operator in the center of town and when he gets a message from Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano or Janet Reno, he hits the air-raid siren for the town and surrounding area indicating you to check your goober phone and your local AM station for important life sustaining information .
    The Local volunteer Fire department checks their siren with a test every Wednesday evening at 7pm, (Small town USA)
    Go away OBO and take that Hillary- Lizard -woman with you,

    Parrott

  6. WesternMA says:

    That’s just plain creepy!

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