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EAS test served purpose for which it was intended say feds

fili@samoanews.com

Broadcasters throughout the U.S. that participated in Wednesday’s nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) have 45 days to report to the federal government results of their test experience, according to a national press statement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

Local broadcasters faced numerous problems with the test, starting with the wrong time given by federal authorities as to when the test would be activated for American Samoa. Territory EAS officials were told that the test would begin at 7 a.m. local time.

 Several local residents complained saying that they never heard the test on local broadcasters, adding that the federal government appears to have “again ignored” American Samoa.

Samoa News sent several questions specifically on American Samoa’s problems to FEMA’s senior spokesman Bradley Carrol in Washington D.C. Among those questions was  why the federal government gave local officials 7 a.m. as the local time for the EAS test and if the EAS test signal was done via telephone or satellite?

 However, the FEMA-News Desk responded by providing a joint national press statement from FEMA senior official Damon Penn and FCC senior official Jamie Barnett that went out late Wednesday.

“The Nationwide EAS Test served the purpose for which it was intended – to identify gaps and generate a comprehensive set of data to help strengthen our ability to communicate during real emergencies,” the statement says. “Based on preliminary data, media outlets in large portions of the country successfully received the test message, but it wasn’t received by some viewers or listeners.  We are currently in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and will reach a conclusion when that process is complete.”

The two federal officials also said that the value of the test is in its assessment function. We were able to accomplish that today — in a comprehensive way.

“The goal of this test has always been to do exactly what happened – to test this decades-old system to see what works well, and what upgrades or changes are needed as we further work to modernize our nation’s public alert and warning system,” it says.

According to the officials, it will take some time to assess the full results of the EAS test and participants in the test have 45 days to report back the full results of their test experience.

Over 30,000 communications service providers participated in the test, including broadcast stations, cable system operators, satellite radio and television and wireline video service providers, they said.

“We look forward to working with all our stakeholders to improve this current technology and build a robust, resilient, and fully accessible next generation alerting system that can provide timely and accurate alerts to the American people,” the statement notes.

More information on the test: www.fema.gov/blog or www.fcc.gov



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