How the Emergency Alert System Has Already Been Tested—and Could Be Improved

Ruth Suehle | | November 9, 2011

You've probably heard by now that today at 2 p.m., there will be the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, which allows the president to address the American public within 10 minutes from any location at any time.

But this Cold War era system has already been outpaced. It will air on every broadcast, cable, and satellite TV station in the US. You'll hear it on any AM, FM, or satellite radio station. But where will you be at 2 p.m. today? Are you usually listening to the radio or watching TV in the middle of the usual work day hours?

Now how did you hear about the test? Twitter or Facebook? An email or text? The Emergency Alert System doesn't (yet) go those places...