Test of National Emergency Alert System Goes (Lady) GaGa

November 9, 2011 - 4:56 PM

(CNSNews.com) – The first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System was overridden by audio of Lady Gaga singing her hit “Paparazzi” for DirecTV viewers in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

CNSNews.com captured the Emergency Alert/Lady GaGa tune on videotape.

The New York Times reported that viewers on other television delivery systems experienced other problems with the warning system.

In response to a CNSNews.com question about the matter, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) said there are “additional improvements that should be made to the system as we move forward.”

“The nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System test was administered and the FCC and FEMA are currently collecting data about the results,” said a statement from FEMA that never directly addressed the reported problems.

The New York Times reported that Comcast customers said their TVs went to the online shopping show QVC during the alert. Time Warner subscribers in New York said the test never appeared on their screen, reported The Times.

Still, FEMA stressed it was the first time to test the system at a federal, nationwide level.

FEMA, Fugate

William Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Photo from FEMA Web site)

“This initial test was the first time we have tested the reach and scope of this technology and what additional improvements that should be made to the system as we move forward,” the FEMA statement continued. “Only through comprehensively testing, analyzing, and improving these technologies can we ensure an effective and reliable national emergency alert and warning system. We thank all of our partners who made this test possible and look forward to working with all our stakeholders to improve this current technology and build a robust, resilient, and fully accessible next generation alerting system that can provide timely and accurate alerts to the American people

The White House announced the pending emergency alert on Tuesday. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that the test would occur at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I just wanted to remind folks that as part of our larger efforts to strengthen our nation’s preparedness and resiliency, the FCC and FEMA will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System this coming Wednesday, that’s tomorrow, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern,” Carney said. “The test will last about 30 seconds. The National Emergency Alert System is an alert and warning system that can be activated by the President if needed to provide information to the American public during emergencies.  The system is already tested and used frequently on the local level but has never before been tested on a nationwide basis.  For more details I refer you to the FCC and FEMA.  Just wanted to make sure everybody knows that it’s just a test.”

A DirecTV spokesperson did not respond to CNSNews.com on Wednesday.