FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31, 2011
CONTACT: Lou Morin, Director of Marketing
(207) 330-4606 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MPBN Participating in National Emergency Alert System Test
MPBN Serves as Point of Origination for all Maine stations
November 9th at 2 pm
(Bangor, Maine) – The radio and television stations of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network will take part in the first-ever national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00 pm.
During the test, which all broadcast TV and radio stations as well as cable and satellite networks in the United States are required to carry, President Obama will read a message lasting up to three minutes. Anyone in America watching a television broadcast or listening to a radio station will see or hear the same message, which will include the familiar words, “This is a test.”
The purpose of the test is to assess the readiness and effectiveness of the EAS and identify incremental improvements to better serve local communities in the preservation of life and property. Although the EAS is frequently used by State and local governments to send weather alerts and other emergencies, such as Amber Alerts, there has never been a national activation of the system.
The National-level EAS is a public alert and warning system that enables the President of the United States to address the American public during extreme emergencies. Similar to the familiar local EAS tests that are conducted frequently, the national EAS Test will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline providers across all states and territories.
While all TV and radio stations must participate, MPBN’s role in distributing the EAS test message in Maine is unique among broadcasters in the state in that MPBN’s radio and TV stations serve as the origination point for all EAS tests in Maine, which are subsequently routed to local stations down the chain of distribution.
“We’re the first link in the chain as the test message propagates throughout the state,” said Gil Maxwell, MPBN’s Chief Technology Officer. MPBN’s role as Maine’s only broadcaster with a statewide infrastructure, serving some of the most rural parts of the state, makes it the obvious choice to perform that function.
“We have towers from Biddeford to Calais to Fort Kent,” Maxwell says, “so when it’s something that affects everyone in Maine, it only makes sense that MEMA would look to us to get an emergency message out.”
Over the past two years and as part of ongoing national preparedness planning efforts, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been working toward making this first nationwide EAS test a reality.