This Is Only a Test of the Emergency Alert System

Contributor: A. Castle. Lesson ID: 14075

If severe weather were headed your way, would you want to know? What if the country were being invaded? Of course, you would! But what comes with a service like that from the government? Explore here!


Government, Life Skills, Technology

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Watch this short video of friends caught in a surprise rainstorm.

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  • Has this ever happened to you?

You're out with your friends, having a blast, and suddenly, a surprise rainstorm crashes your party. If only someone had told you that a storm was coming. You may have found shelter before getting soaked.

While a little rain is inconvenient, there are many more serious events where having a heads-up could save your life.

In today's world, where cat videos and memes are just a click away, you might wonder if anything else can grab your attention. Meet the Emergency Alert System (EAS), your not-so-average hero in times of crisis.

EAS was born in the colorful era of the 1950s, during the Cold War, when everyone was paranoid about surprise visits from the Soviet Union.

They came up with CONELRAD, a system that sounded like a sci-fi villain but was actually there to protect the country from nuclear shenanigans. It allowed the government to send important messages through radio stations in case the much-feared war was about to begin.

Fast forward to 1963, and the system got an upgrade — the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS).

This was like a high-speed information superhighway for emergency messages. It used a network of broadcasters to get the word out when bad stuff was brewing.

But wait, there's more! In 1997, we got the real superstar: the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

This system was as modern as the latest smartphone, using digital magic to spread emergency messages. It could talk to radios, TVs, cable systems, satellite providers — you name it. It's like the Swiss Army knife of emergency communication.

  • So, what's the point of all this?

The EAS is your trusty sidekick, here to make sure you're in the know when trouble hits. It'll alert you about storms, floods, fires, and even missing kids (thanks to those Amber Alerts).

In the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages the EAS, ensuring it is always ready to act.

  • Speaking of alerts, have you heard of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)?

They are like text messages for emergencies, popping up on your phone when there's important information you need to know, like a shelter-in-place order.

In a world where information can be overwhelming, the EAS is your go-to source for the real deal when things get serious. It's like having a superhero hotline on speed dial, ensuring you stay safe and sound during those unexpected adventures in life.

  • But what exactly is the Emergency Alert System, and how does it work?

Watch the video below for those answers.

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  • Sounds like a great system, right?

As with most things, not everyone agrees that the EAS is useful, needed, or even safe.

Head to the Got It? section to discover more.

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