by Pam Zubeck
If you're into conspiracy theories and end-times rhetoric, here's a chance to really drive yourselves crazy with paranoia.
The federal government is preparing to conduct the first-ever nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) test at noon Wednesday (mountain time).
There's been very little info put out locally to warn people what this is all about, though Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has been on TV in a public-service announcement telling people it's just a test. He made the ad at the request of the Colorado Broadcasters Association, says his spokesman Mike Saccone.
As of a few minutes ago, the CBA had nothing on its website about the EAS test, which is strange beyond belief, considering they're in charge of the outreach in this state for the test.
In any event, rumors are spreading that the test reportedly will last three minutes, a lot longer than the usual 30 seconds to a minute that we're all used to when suddenly your program gets interrupted with someone saying, "This is a test of the National Broadcasting System. If this had been an actual warning, you would have been directed to...." But FEMA says it will last only 30 seconds.
Well, of course, this being the first nationwide test has raised all kinds of questions about why it would be necessary to notify the entire nation of something all at once. Oh yeah, nuclear war. Or an earthquake breaks the country in half, making the Front Range the West Coast. Or maybe President Obama will impose martial law. Or the pod people have inhabited all Republicans, and they're taking over the world.
The official reasoning is explained here by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is cooperating with several other agencies:
As part of our ongoing efforts to keep our country and communities safe during emergencies, we’re working in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The EAS test plays a key role in ensuring the nation is prepared for any type of hazard, and that the U.S. public can receive critical and vital information should it ever be needed.
Here's the funny part of FEMA's advisory:
As we get close to the test, the FCC and all of our many partners are working together to spread the word to as many members of the public as possible — so people know what to expect when the test takes place, and no one is caught off guard.
This is why you've seen all those press releases issued by various broadcasters or whoever is in charge of this. We haven't received a single one.
So, with this missive, consider yourself advised that the end of the world may come at noon Wednesday, or just a test to let you know the government can notify you if it does.