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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Monday, November 7, 2011

First Nationwide Test of EAS May Overwhelm 911

On November 9th at 2:00pm Eastern Time (ET), the Federal Emergency Management Agency in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will conduct the first Nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) Test.


Most of us know the EAS as the old Emergency Broadcast System and we’re all familiar with the monthly test we see on TV and hear on the radio. What most people don’t know is that those monthly test are all done locally and there has never been a nationwide test of the entire system!

According to Phil Petree, President of NeighborhoodWatchAlerts.com, “The important thing to know about this test is that FEMA is using a code for an actual emergency so the text at the top of the television screen may indicate that an “Emergency Action Notification has been issued.” This notification is used to disseminate a REAL national alert and in this case, the test. Because this is an actual alert code, the background image that appears on video screens indicating “This is a test” may not appear and when users flip channels and see or hear the alert on all channels the fear is this could cause uninformed users to panic and call 911, and flooding the 911 system could put lives as risk by preventing callers with actual emergencies from getting the help they need.”

Please consider communicating the Nationwide EAS Test information to your communities of interest,” said Manny Centeno, FEMA IPAWS Program Manager. “We greatly appreciate your assistance and invaluable efforts for this important public service.”

To help people understand this test and what they can do to help, NeighborhoodWatchAlerts.com has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions page which contains valuable information, links back to the FEMA site and information for the press to use in their PSA announcements. The page can be found at www.neighborhoodwatchalerts.com/help/eastest

“Since most people have easier access to email and cell phones, NeighborhoodWatchAlerts.com fills an important gap between radio and TV alerting by providing important safety alerts to users via methods more suitable to busy and mobile lifestyle. Using email and text messaging we can reach people who might otherwise miss life saving alerts because they’re at work and not listening to the radio or in front of a TV” continued Mr. Petree.

In addition to EAS and neighbor-to-neighbor alerts, police departments, Emergency Managers, Public Works and Public Health departments have FREE access to the system for use in notifying communities within their jurisdiction of important safety issues including: Criminal activity, major traffic events or road closures, emergency evacuations and school lockdowns. Virtually all of the participating government agencies involved all agree that quick, easy and timely communications out to their jurisdiction is a key benefit of using NeighborhoodWatchAlerts.com.

Neighborhoodwatchalerts.com, based out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida provides free email or text message alerts for all neighborhoods with OR without formal or informal neighborhood watch programs. Founded in 2010 the company works with 1000’s of local, state and federal agencies in developing and disseminating emergency alerts.

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