Entries in National Emergency (2)


National Emergency Alert Test to Be Held Wednesday

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On Wednesday the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission will hold the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.

The test will occur at 2 p.m. ET and will be carried on all broadcast television, radio stations and cable and satellite television systems in the U.S. and U.S. territories.

The national public warning system has been used by state and local authorities for tests and notifications such as Amber Alerts and weather warnings but there has never been a nationwide test.

The Emergency Alert System was designed in the 1950s and is run by the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the FCC. President Bush signed an executive order in 2006 to mandate the nationwide system and national alert capability.

Because the national system has never been tested, homeland security officials say this is an important trial to see how it works. It is expected to last 30 seconds.

FEMA and the FCC want to ensure that the deaf and those hard of hearing, people with cognitive or mental health concerns, senior citizens, and people not proficient in English are aware of it.

Officials say the system could be used to ensure that the president and officials can address the nation during a significant emergency such as a natural disaster, terrorist attack or cyber-incident.

DHS and FEMA are currently working on expanding the Emergency Alert System by developing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which will allow nationwide alerts to be sent to wireless mobile devices and phones.

Working with the FCC, the two agencies are also working on the Commercial Mobile Alert System and the Personalized Local Alert Network, which would allow local alerts to be sent via wireless technology and devices.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Emergency Alert System Being Unveiled for Cellphones

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The federal government unveiled a major upgrade Tuesday of the national emergency alert system that will send warnings directly to cellphone users.

Similar to the alerts heard over the radio and on TV -- a loud, piercing sound followed by the words "This is a test of the national emergency alert system" -- the new alerts will be sent via text messages.  They will inform cellphone users of alerts issued by the president, emergencies like natural disasters that pose an imminent threat, and cases of child abductions or missing children.

Called the Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN), the expanded service will work on newer cellphones that contain a special chip.  The text messages will be free of charge and will be available to customers of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

The alerts are scheduled to be rolled out in New York and Washington, D.C. later this year, with a nationwide launch to follow by next spring.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio