Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Introducing the National Emergency Alert System

On January 1, 1997 the country's original emergency broadcasting system (EBS) was replaced with the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Of course, before November 9, 2011 our Emergency Alert System hadn't been used by a president in over 50 years; even during the Soviet Union missile crisis and not during September 11, 2001. However, the new system was finally tested on November 9 and was a big failure for many parts of the country. Let's take a closer look into what EAS is supposed to do and what went wrong.

What Is the Emergency Alert System?
The National Emergency Alert System is a way to alert people on local, state and national levels. It was also intended to be a way for the President to address the country in a state of emergency. When working properly, the President should be able to begin his address within 10 minutes. However, there are flaws. For one thing, the system had never been tested nationally prior to November 9 though it had been in place for over 10 years. Sure, the system works good on local and state levels, but could it function when the entire country is at risk? Could it reach everyone through cable, satellite and even satellite radio channels? America got it's answer on November 9 at 2PM Eastern.

Lady Gaga a State of Emergency?
There were a number of people across the country who experienced problems with the system. Some people received the message, but the audio was garbled. There were others who didn't receive a message or alert at all. There were even those that has to listen to the message for over four minutes, even though it was only supposed to last 30 seconds. Of course, the weirdest reports were from those that heard Lady Gaga's during the alert. The truth stands though. The system did not work correctly and would never do in a state of emergency. We live in a time of technological advancement where we can view web cams in other countries with the click of a mouse, but we can't get a message out to our own country? After the tragedy of September 11, it's hard to believe that this system wasn't given a higher level of urgency.

The National Emergency Alert System needs work and it needs it now. Our country needs a way to be informed as a whole in times of emergency. The failure that took place on November 9 should never have happened and leaves the country worried about how we'll stay safe.

About the Author: Pearle Labonville is a full-time writer with a passion for technology and current events. She loves her smartphone, loves using apps to find Cyber Monday deals, and enjoys shopping. She just hopes the next EAS test doesn't interrupt.