You know how every time there’s a fire drill in your office, most of the people don’t move or do anything because they all know it’s probably not a real fire, and even if it was no one was really paying attention during that fire drill safety class so they might as well continue doing those spreadsheets instead of ending up trapped in a fire-licked elevator?
Well, the FCC hopes you understand that at 2 p.m. today, you will also choose to ignore the apocalypse-sounding warning that they will be testing out for the first time, even though there is a slight chance that the message you receive will not tell you that the end of the world is not actually nigh, and this is in fact, just a test.
The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, or EAS, will take place at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on November 9, 2011. The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system in alerting the public.
What will people see and hear during the test?
Although the nationwide EAS test may resemble the periodic monthly EAS tests that most consumers are familiar with, there will be some differences in what consumers may see or hear, which is one reason for conducting a nationwide EAS test. During the test, the public will hear a message indicating “this is a test”. The audio message will be the same for everyone, however due to limitations of the EAS, the video test message may not be the same and may not indicate “this is a test”. This is due to the use of a “live” national code – the same code that would be used in an actual emergency. Also, the background image that appears on video screens may indicate “this is a test” but in some cases there may be no image at all.
So depending on your location, you may or may be told that what you are see or hearing is just a test of the first ever nationwide emergency system…something you’d think we would have perfected during the Cold War but no…it’s good to get on it now. Not for any particular reason. Don’t be alarmed. Also, FEMA workers are standing by. Our question is, how is that going to appear on the Internet? Will all computers with a modem go blank and show a screen that says, “Evacuate immediately and leave me behind?”