At 11:00 a.m., we observed the national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Here inside the Emergency Operations Center, we watched the test on TV, through the NOAA radio and regular radio on a Portland station. We saw the video screen message on KGW; however, there was no audio alert as promised. It appears there was no interruption of KOIN, NW Cable News or radio for this national test.
We want to share with you that the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is tested successfully every month in this region by local emergency management agencies and the National Weather Service for weather-based incidents. We have local confidence in this system AND it is only one of the methods that we use to share information with the citizens of our community.
We use the following systems to share information regularly with the public:
• Flash Alert News (http://www.flashnews.net/pdx.html) which sends our press releases to the news media (and the general public can subscribe to receive press releases directly)
• Emergency Alert System (the system tested today) which targets alerts over radio and television stations
• Community Notification System (which is our phone-based out-dial system for targeted geographic-based alerts).
• Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and Blog).
Remember, we exercise and test for a reason which is to find out if systems work BEFORE the disaster strikes. So, while we may not understand why or how today’s EAS system malfunctioned, there are many lessons being learned. Please share this with your stakeholders and community members so that this message gets out.
As always, if you have any questions about emergency response plans here in Cowlitz County, we are happy to assist and share our information with you.