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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)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. Dorothy says:

    Watching TV on a St. Louis Station. The alert came through with picture and sound at approximately 1:05CST, lasted roughly 30secs.
    The announcer then said that local programming was being returned which it did. About 5 minutes later the alert repeated going through the whole thing again…….I guess the St. Louis area got a double dose cause so many other areas missed out completely.

  2. Joseph Breeden says:

    we saw it on channel 12 – KMBC in Kansas City – the warning message ran for over thirty minutes scrolling from bottom to top instead of top to bottom making it difficult to read –

  3. Orpheus75 says:

    Heard a split second shot of the annoying frequency… then was promptly returned to my program.

  4. Richard Jones says:

    Why does anyone in their right mind want to allow da Kingfishes Feds to have the ability to take over all communications in this country ??? It is going to make it more difficult when he decides to declare martial law and become the leater on the junta.

  5. Magneto says:

    I own half of a small station in Ca. We ignored it as we have a rule we do not do anything this government wants untill its replaced with a leagle one. Semper Fi.

  6. nuke726 says:

    I was listening to news on Sirius. The host announced that the test would interrupt her and she would be back in 30 seconds. She was cut off in mid-sentence, but was replaced with silence. I switched to AM, and the test announcement was in progress. Switched back to Sirius, and the newscaster was back (it was only maybe 10-15 seconds into the test). Switched back to AM and the test was still in progress. Shouldn’t Sirius be part of the EAS?

  7. rawheadrex says:

    Obviously, this was poorly executed. I recommend the following two formats:
    BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! This a test of the nationwide emergency system:WOLF, WOLF,WOLF,WOLF,WOLF,WOLF,WOLF,WOLF,WOLF,WOLF,WOLF,WOLF!
    This concludes the test of the nationwide emergency system. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP.

    Or, BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! This a test of the nationwide emergency system:
    Narrator: Chicken Little was in the woods one day when an acorn fell on her head. It scared her so much she trembled all over. She shook so hard, half her feathers fell out.
    Chicken Little: “Help! Help! The sky is falling! I have to go tell the king!”
    Narrator: So she ran in great fright to tell the king. Along the way she met Henny Penny.
    Henny Penny: “Where are you going, Chicken Little?”
    Chicken Little: “Oh, help! The sky is falling!”
    Henny Penny: “How do you know?”
    Chicken Little: “I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!”
    Henny Penny: “This is terrible, just terrible! We’d better hurry up.”
    Narrator: So they both ran away as fast as they could. Soon they met Ducky Lucky.
    Ducky Lucky: “Where are you going, Chicken Little and Henny Penny?”
    Chicken Little & Henny Penny: “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! We’re going to tell the king!”
    Ducky Lucky: “How do you know?”
    Chicken Little: “I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head.”
    Ducky Lucky: “Oh dear, oh dear! We’d better run!”
    Narrator: So they all ran down the road as fast as they could. Soon they met Goosey Loosey walking down the roadside.
    Goosey Loosey “Hello there. Where are you all going in such a hurry?”
    Chicken Little: “We’re running for our lives!”
    Henny Penny: “The sky is falling!”
    Ducky Lucky: “And we’re running to tell the king!”
    Goosey Loosey: “How do you know the sky is falling?”
    Chicken Little: “I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!”
    Goosey Loosey: “Goodness! Then I’d better run with you.”
    Narrator: And they all ran in great fright across a field. Before long they met Turkey Lurkey strutting back and forth..
    Turkey Lurkey: “Hello there, Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, and Goosey Loosey. Where are you all going in such a hurry?”
    Chicken Little: “Help! Help!”
    Henny Penny: “We’re running for our lives!”
    Ducky Lucky: “The sky is falling!”
    Goosey Loosey: “And we’re running to tell the king!”
    Turkey Lurkey: “How do you know the sky is falling?”
    Chicken Little: “I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!”
    Turkey Lurkey: “Oh dear! I always suspected the sky would fall someday. I’d better run with you.”
    Narrator: So they ran with all their might, until they met Foxy Loxy.
    Foxy Loxy: “Well, well. Where are you rushing on such a fine day?”
    Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey (together) “Help! Help!” It’s not a fine day at all. The sky is falling, and we’re running to tell the king!”
    Foxy Loxy: “How do you know the sky is falling?”
    Chicken Little: “I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!”
    Foxy Loxy: “I see. Well then, follow me, and I’ll show you the way to the king.”
    Narrator: So Foxy Loxy led Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey across a field and through the woods. He led them straight to his den, and they never saw the king to tell him that the sky is falling.
    This concludes a test of the nationwide emergency system. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP!

  8. Steve says:

    I was watching the DVR and nothing, but nothing came over. I had completely forgotten about it.

    What do we need a national alert for? All the states have one and they always seem to work fine. Do the Feds know something we don’t?

  9. Slartibartfast says:

    Listening on Sirius-XM satellite radio yesterday, the announcement came on saying this was a scheduled test of… then silence. Since I’d been following the news about the test I knew what it was, but if I’d been oblivious about it I never would have guessed what was supposed to be happening.

  10. stan says:

    Incompetence in action !!

  11. Tess says:

    Live TV is not a common media I use. I record my shows and use the internet. I would appreciate an email or cell phone alert, but I know the system is not ready for that yet.

  12. nortntrix says:

    test? what test? i’ve been hiding under my bed ever since janet incompitano appeared.

  13. Roger says:

    Tujunga, CA part of Los Angeles, never heard it on my radio… of course the Penn State debacle might’ve taken precedence?

  14. rob moore says:

    imagine that, “dead air” from Janet Incompatano and the DHS, it would been news if anything from this administration worked

  15. Brien says:

    CT I saw and heard a message for approx. one second.

  16. lc says:

    Nothing in Oregon along the Columbia

  17. Mel Hatfield says:

    Janet (Big Sis) Napaliano’s test failed…It’s called poetic justice!

  18. Mick Russom says:

    The radical police state is struggling to be able to take over the internet, the cable, the satellite , everything all at once.

    Prepare for images of big brother and Three Minute Hate, we have give our liberty and freedom to the radical police state.

  19. Chicago860 says:


  20. Helen Wheels says:

    Bring back Conelrad.

  21. Jimbo Limbo says:

    I live in between Dallas and Fort Worth, in Texas. I flipped around to all the local channels, and they all had their custom screens showing- nothing universal, and there was no sound with it. It looked like it was just the lead up to buffer the actual “Test,” which never cam through. ABC kept showing the soap that they had on, and then flashed a scrolling message about how ‘this was just a test.’

    Failure from my own government. I was born in the 70’s… it’s been the general rule, all my life, with brief windows of success. We’ve got to get these clowns off the payroll. They will continue to fail, when they are pushed into the private market, but that will open up jobs for those of us who are competent and accountable for our actions. All these fools that work for the Federal government are just robbing us blind, with no benefit to us!

  22. fecal_heroes says:

    FEM Napkin’s just trying to terrorize the Occupy movement. Liberal, Neo-conservative useful idiots and critics of Assembly, and frankly haters of truth and freedom, exist by feeding on the entrepreneurial, middle class.
    Which explains why the nation’s prayers are with the millions being victimized by selfsame Z!onist apparachiks of the Fed, IMF and World Bank. And with the Anonymous brigade.
    For they know, the bad children and parasites who are proletariat will never admonish the Crony Capitalism feeding their addictions and narcissism. A special interest needful and earnest of all the hearty, steamy excrement patriots can provide. Sh!t and p!ss on, noble flea-baggers!

  23. Dixie Normus says:

    It doesn’t matter in the context that was meant… this was just a prelude to imposing martial law next year; “They” will just have an excuse to shoot on sight now, and say that it’s Constitutional because of a “technical breakdown”. 😦 (Commenting on the FEMA EBS “breakdown” {11-09-2011}).

  24. Kathleen says:

    I run 3 local public access stations on Charter Communications and we had posted bulletin board announcements and ran the FEMA Public Service Announcements in anticipation of the test for several weeks so I was watching closely… only two channels had the test on it. All three of ours and all the rest had regular programming. Hey, no big deal (except they made it a big deal) that is precisely why they run tests. Hopefully, it will all get worked out and they will run another one with more success.

  25. janice says:

    Southerb Or. Fox news was on and Megan Kelley never left the air, Ho-Hum whats new in this picture? Tkhe feds strike again.

  26. darwin says:

    I had a radio on my local AM station airing Rush Limbaugh’s show and a TV on Fox News Channel via DirecTV. In both cases, the programming went on as usual, nothing unsuaual seen or heard.

  27. GT says:

    I am more convinced than ever that the government IS the disaster !

  28. Krysta Hayne-duran says:


  29. Clearhead says:

    Disappointed again. I saw the headline and thought maybe I’d missed one of obama’s ‘speeches’.

  30. FM says:

    The delay is a function of the “daisy chain” delivery system, where station A sends the alert, station B detects it, records and replays the alert so station C can get it, record, replay, etc.

    So a 30 second message takes 1-1/2 minutes to deliver through the entire alert tree.

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