Tony Schmitz Answers the Question, “Was the Emergency Alert System Test a Failure?”

3 Minute Read

In the latest issue of Disaster Recovery Journal, Send Word Now’s very own Tony Schmitz tackles the issues of what went wrong during November’s nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), the media communications based alerting system designed to transmit warning regarding imminent threats, child abductions, and presidential alerts to the American public at the national, state and local levels.

When a test of the system was run in November, many people never saw an alert, others said the audio was distorted, and there were even claims that Lady Gaga’s song “Paparazzi” was playing instead of the correct audio. Many viewers and listeners received no alert at all, while others received the alert after a very substantial delay.

In his DRJ article, Tony Schmitz takes a critical look at what went wrong. After careful consideration, he writes, “Instead of dismissing the EAS test as a failure, we should remember that it was just that – a test. Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator, correctly point out, “If you don’t test you can’t fix.” It is only by running a full scale test of your emergency plans that you can identify where their weaknesses are – and fix them before they become a problem during a real crisis. A test is only a failure if its organizers don’t learn from it.”

Instead of criticizing FEMA, Schmitz points out that “the EAS should be viewed as a part of a greater preparedness effort – one in which international cooperation and regular testing play an important role.” He stresses the importance of private preparedness as a “critical supplement to all government response efforts,” and offers concrete suggestions for organizations around the world.

Want to read more? Check out the full article, and the rest of this season’s Disaster Recovery Journal here!