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National Emergency Test

OPB | Nov. 11, 2011 9:30 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:51 p.m.

A National Emergency Alert System test was scheduled for this Wednesday at 11 a.m. PST, but due to technical problems it failed here in Oregon and SW Washington. This was the first-ever test of a system that has never actually been used on a nationwide basis. Here in Oregon, there’s a statewide system that has been used successfully.

The nationwide alert was designed to provide a place for the President to speak directly to Americans in the case of a dire emergency. A signal is sent out from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) to broadcasters around the country who then distribute the signal across their states. OPB is that broadcaster for Oregon and SW Washington.

FEMA’s hope was to get a sense of what worked and what didn’t. Among other things, they learned that the communication with OPB did not work.

This story has been covered on OPB News and elsewhere this week, but since we are here in the midst of it all at OPB, we thought we’d try to find out more about what happened.

Have you ever been in a situation where you depended on an emergency alert? What happened?

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