Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's only a test

I want to make sure everyone in Kansas City is aware of the upcoming Emergency Alert System test on Wednesday so you know that it’s just a test and there is no reason to panic. You may hear these tests from time to time on the radio or on television, but until now all of the tests have been local. The first nationwide test will be in two days at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 9. The federal government is conducting the test “to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system in alerting the public.”

According to the Federal Communications Commission, The Emergency Alert System is “a media communications-based alerting system that is designed to transmit emergency alerts and warnings to the American public at the national, Tribal, state and local levels. EAS participants broadcast alerts and warnings regarding weather threats, child abductions and other types of emergencies. EAS alerts are transmitted over television and radio broadcast, satellite television and satellite radio, cable television and wireline video services.” In Kansas City, you’ve probably heard the EAS during events such as tornadoes and Amber Alerts.

The nationwide test on Wednesday should tell you that it is only a test, but the FCC has warned us in some places that message may not get through. We have informed all of our staff of this test, so they will be aware in case someone contacts police thinking an actual emergency is taking place.

Please let others know about this test. For more information, see the FCC’s fact sheet.

Send comments to kcpdchiefblog@kcpd.org.