Friday, March 28, 2014

Emergency Broadcast System

Here in the US, we have the Emergency Alert System that breaks into radio and television programming in case of emergencies. When I was growing up, it was called the Emergency Broadcast System. In fact, I didn't know it had become the EAS until writing this very post. I think I will probably always refer to it as the Emergency Broadcast System, though. The point is, in spite of my digressions, that once a month, television and radio stations were/are required to broadcast a test of the EBS. It looked something like, and sound exactly like, this:

Every test followed that same script. The only change was the graphics behind it and the area it covered. 

I even remember the first time I ever heard one of these that wasn't a test. I was living in Colorado and heard the test go off and didn't think anything of it ~ until I heard the sound followed by actual information and instructions. Holy shit! The test was real! I think I even called Crow and said "holy shit! The test is real!" Note ~ tornadoes that didn't touch down in my area.

Another time I remember so distinctly was living in Alaska. It was about 2:00 a.m. Lithus was long asleep. I was up writing. And the sound went off. Sure enough, not a test. A tsunami warning. What the fuck? A tsunami? At which point, I decided to pay attention. Except that we'd been having issues with cable in the building so what I heard was "A tsunami warning has been issued for the following parts of coastal Alaska...scratch, skritch, static, and noise...This alert is in effect until scratch skritch..." Thank you, Alaskan cable company. Thank you. Note ~ the warning was for the Aleutians and did, sadly, hit, but the tsunami did not come up the coast anywhere close to Anchorage.

This morning, I believe, will be the third one of these I remember. I am here, on the couch, on my computer. Lithus is playing XBox. Our television is not on. Our radio is not on. My phone, sitting next to me, goes nuts. Vibrating. Humming. Buzzing. It is an effect I have never seen or heard. It is something I didn't even know my phone could do. It is an announcement, via text and bouncing and noise, from the Emergency Broadcast System (okay, the EAS). Flash flooding in Orleans county and the city of New Orleans. Avoid low-lying areas. Check with local media. To my phone.

Local and civil authorities have kept up with the times, my friends. Good to know, even if it freaked me out a bit.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Anonymous said...

I was in California when my phone started going crazy with Amber Alerts. Although I thought it was great that they could broadcast the messages that fast it was still a little eerie.

BostonPobble said...

So and so ~ Great, while being eerie. Best description yet.