Glitches Reported During FEMA’s First-Ever National Emergency Alert System Test

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The first-ever nationwide test of the country’s Emergency Alert System was conducted Wednesday.

But did you hear or see it?

The 30-second test of the emergency alert system was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, but it appears there were problems with the audio message. Some viewers reported seeing the alert, however, several radio listeners reported hearing nothing but dead air for 30 seconds. Others reported hearing a garbled message.

The test is similar to local emergency alert system tests. Today’s test was the first time the system had been activated nationally.

If there is ever a catastrophic event such as terrorist attack or major national disaster, the president could use the system to make an official announcement.

Roughly two hours after the test occurred, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman released this statement to

“The weaknesses exposed by today’s test of the emergency alert system are unacceptable. Government and media carriers must work together to make sure the system does what it is intended to do, which is to transmit a nationwide message from the President in a crisis. I commend FEMA for carrying out this long-overdue, first-ever, nationwide test of the system. Without it, we would never have known the extent of the system’s vulnerabilities.”

Did you see or hear the test? Let us know below

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Lisa W. says:

    Heard it on the radio in Philly, PA, but it was very hard to hear and almost sounded like some sort of “subliminal messaging (?)” in the background… makes me wonder why they even had this “test” outta the clear blue… as we’re approaching 2012… and as the entire country is falling apart at the seams and everywhere the eff else. Whatever… whatever’s meant to be is gonna be, I’m just debating over whether or not to prepare myself for disaster or just face it when it happens because I am definitely convinced that it’s a matter of WHEN, not a matter of IF.

  2. Darrel says:

    Bumbling Barry Oblamo and Janet Incompetano are a national disgrace.

  3. jorge patron marenge says:

    Aye caramba… Lady Gaga’s “Papparazzi” played inexplicably in ‘red state’ SLC.

  4. Pedro Stuart says:

    my classmate’s mother makes $87 every hour on the computer. She has been without work for 7 months but last month her income was $7500 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this site

  5. Bumbles says:

    Bumbling Barry Oblamo and Janet Incompetano are a national disgrace.

  6. Scott Nelson says:

    Not at all uniform here in Boston, different Comcast channels had different messages or incomplete ones or just cut off the test.

  7. Ghostsouls says:

    Fox News said the test was about to air, then nothing happened on any Channel in Oklahoma City, on any station, I tried them all. I have Cable and it did not air. Had this been an actual emergency, we were screwed!!

  8. Dave says:

    Nothing but garble on the radio.

    If something happens in this country like another Katrina, an EAS message will be worthless for anyone in the affected area.

  9. Bill Williams says:

    Here in Acworth, GA, north of Atlanta, did not hear or see anything. But this was to be expected, it was brought by the same ppl that give us TSA and The disaster we saw with Katrina…Just sayin

  10. Kiley Anderson says:

    I was listening to Sirius satellite radio. I heard the alert tone for about 3 scones, then dead air for about 10 seconds, then music came back on.

    1. Jimbo Limbo says:

      Is a scone a little longer than a crumpet of time? I kid, I kid. Don’t take offense. We need some smart-A__ humor to make it through the day, with all the crap our government pulls, right?

  11. Leslie Barnett says:

    Leslie Barnett, Grant County, Oregon
    We “watched’ it on national FOX News. It lasted about 1 minute with some
    kind of funky background music. Megan Kelly was back on a minute later
    saying something about the broadcast alert that was about to happen, which
    had already happened, which was weird.

  12. Prez says:

    Situation “normal” for fed giv. SNAFU = Situation Normal All Effed up! (Keep it clean, bros.)

  13. James - Longdrycreek Ranch says:

    I turned off the radio at 2 p.m. CST but the fire sirens went off in Canyon, TX. . I do not think there was a fire but the local FD wanted to get into the spirit of the occasion.
    I could care less if Janet or Homeland Insecurity or FEMA makes it work or not.
    I would not trust anything the U.S. Government says.

  14. Harley Barrett says:

    Listened to WLW Cincinnati-sounded like someone reading a chilren’s book. Maybe something on PBS?

  15. David Baylis says:

    Does this mean on the next 911 ,when 2 hijacked commercial passenger aircraft ,cross directly over the air national guard in New Windsor,NY, we will actually send someone to intercept them ,instead of pretending it is a war game?

  16. Black Eagle says:

    We have a fantastic array of news sources – AM and FM radio, plus shortwave. Cable and broadcast TV, in hundreds of stations. If there was a national emergency or disaster, they would be broadcasting about it for hours before the political hacks in Washington DC ever learned about it. So they would then smother the more authentic reporting with political speeches instead of information? With TSA barking out “orders” which are of no help to anyone. Unless of course Washignton DC was atom-bombed, in which case we’d see the economy soar, peace develop, innovation blossom, etc.

  17. drugbunny says:

    Heard the test it began correctly then about half way through it was as if someone was calling a talk show and his radio was still on. It begane to repeat over and over like an echo. Then suddnely it started buzzing then it was over.

  18. Becca says:

    I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Logo on Time Warner Cable in Albany, New York. The station flickered, but never lost picture or sound. I continued to enjoy Buffy and all her slaying.

    Our tax dollars at work. FAIL.

  19. John G says:

    Los Angeles radio: KPCC and KPFK both had silence after the initial alert tone. KUSC had an “official” voice that sounded like it was being broadcast from Mars and jammed by a transmitter in the same room as my radio.

    When did the U.S. become so pathetic?

  20. Patrick says:

    I have DIRECTV and all I received was a message splashed on screen with no sound, when I changed to a local channel, message was garbled. Guess didn’t work.

  21. Joel O says:

    We play Sirius/XM Radio in our office; at 11:00am PST we heard the beginning of the usual EBS tone, then a sound similar to that of a compact disc when its skips, followed by dead air for about 20 seconds. After that it was back to the music; no audible message was heard during the test.

  22. Walt C says:

    Didn’t we use this on 9/11? Everyone seemed to know that we’d been attacked in pretty short order.

    We obviously don’t need this system. But since it was a miserable failure, they’ll spend a few billions in trying to get it fixed, and then scrap the whole thing and start over when they can’t make it work.

    Government at it’s finest.

    1. Cowboy Bob says:

      No, even though the United States was under enemy attack on 9/11/2001, and we had no idea how widespread the problem was, no one bothered to send out a real-thing EAS alert. Oh… and don’t forget all the money that we broadcasters had to spend to buy new equipment to be compliant with the revised, improved, EAS system!

  23. Cowboy Bob says:

    I own a radio station in Western Wyoming. What came IN to our radio station was the squawk, squawk, squawk, followed by the eight second attention tone, followed by a man explaining about the test, followed by squawk, squawk, squawk. But, what our brand new EAS box that Obama made all of us buy did was it sent OUT the squawks (modem tones), followed by the eight second attention tone, followed by about 30 seconds of silence, followed by three more squawks. The folks who designed the EAS system left out two important things: First, there is no button to press for a National Test, so they had to send it out as a real thing. Second, there is no button to press for the affected area being the entire United States, so they had to press the button that said it was just for the District of Columbia. Maybe my brand new EAS box was smart enough to figure if the test was for DC, it didn’t need to have the message go out in Wyoming! But… it did send out all the tones.

  24. Roque says:

    I work at a radio station in Puerto Rico. The test came out at 3pm on the dot.
    But I did put on the report that it was difficult to hear the message.
    Remember, It was the first time. Don’t mind doing it again soon. The idea of testing is just that…to test.

  25. Norma says:

    It was programming as usual here, my husband and I watched “Walker, Texas Ranger” at 2:00 p,m. There was no Emergency Test at all.

  26. Congressional Dysfunction says:

    Please be respectful, it was not dead air as so many are rudely calling it. What you heard was President Obama outlining his plans without the aid of a teleprompter.

  27. screwedTaxpayer says:

    Why is the gov’t wasting money on this? The Free Market already has communication systems in place: FaceBook and Twitter

  28. Chris says:

    It was Bush’s fault.

  29. Joan says:

    Is this the prerequisite for martial law? Do we even know what would happen should this emergency be real? I mean why bother! What is the government going to do to protect you? NOTHING! Remember Katrina. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Food, water, and protection storage are essential for EVERY familty. Do not depend on the government to protect you. They will be an abject failure every time.

  30. Butch Blosc says:

    The entire Obama Administration is Amateur Night; a laughing stock.

  31. Bill says:

    What did you expect?? Name one thing this administration has done right.

    1. screwedTaxpayer says:

      screw the American people

      1. Joel O says:

        Is it just Obama? I’m pretty sure the GOP House, the Dem Senate and every administration since the Private Federal Reserve Bank was chartered by our government to steal tax payer money legally are equally culpable. Its a government for the corporations, by the corporations. They could care less about everyone of you who’s net worth is under $1 Million.

  32. JOe Dutra says:

    ANONYMOUS! Where are you when we need you?

  33. Hawby says:

    Heard the tones, garbled message, and then… The Guess Who playing American Woman. I think it is a sign that Canada is preparing to launch an attack!

  34. OJ says:

    I don’t have a TV…

  35. Wrong Number says:

    “… to make sure… to transmit a nationwide message from the President…”

    Unless his message is “I resign”… then pfft!

  36. Jim says:

    In Huntsville, AL all we got was just less than 4 minutes of dead air. No audio, no video, no message. It was advertized as a 30 second test. What happened?

  37. Jim T says:

    Here in central FL, heard tones, but audio was a garbled mess.

  38. Monkey Spank says:

    HaHa…codes were funny dude! Just like the movie “Red Dawn” when you heard the coded messages over the radio – “The chair is against the wall…The dove is flying low…”
    **This Test was nothing more than another (Conditioning) manuveur. Get the young americans use to it…then it becomes the norm. BUT it may fade away just like our coded “Terror Alert” colors.
    I bet no one can say what Color Level we are today? B/C no one gives a $hit.

  39. kimmp says:

    Didn’t hear or see a thing. I purposly turned off the tv at 2pm…………

  40. firstpoppa says:

    Bestest administration, evah!

  41. Engineer says:

    I am an engineer at a TX station and we received the alert tones but did not receive an audio message. After 10 seconds of silence (dead air), the “end of message” was broadcast and the test was over. The good news was we received the message with no delay (mere seconds after 1 PM CST). The bad news… there was no message!

  42. Phil McAvity says:

    Clearly, we need FreeVee.

  43. MiBu says:

    Geez, how did we ever get through disasters before these clowns came on the scene?

  44. Dale says:

    This whole system is unnecessary. Did any of you miss the emergency on 9-11-01? No. We have a media infrastructure and do NOT need government to try to interrupt it for a message that would get out even more quickly if it was just sent to the news outlets.

  45. kelly says:

    Failed. Just like the current administration has failed.

  46. Timothy Martens says:

    I got it plain and clear here in Jalisco Mexico.

  47. Factchecker says:

    Dead air – just like the politicians.

  48. LALady says:

    Saw nothing but a black TV screen for thirty seconds…no sound at all (Louisiana).

  49. DixT says:

    I saw it and heard it on my TV, here in Colorado (front range area). However it only lasted one minute or LESS. My computer DID NOT show any signs of any kind of “alert”, though.

    1. Timothy Martens says:

      Dude your computer isn’t taken over by the government yet. Why did you expect it there?

  50. fat libertarian says:

    Typical government fail.

    They can’t do anything right.

    1. Timothy Martens says:

      Average government… =( Maybe if they were smaller they could suceed at something!

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