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Volume 32, Issue 4

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Thursday, 08 April 2010 12:26

Alert the Masses: The Evolution of Mass Notification


Part 1: Events that Heralded the NeedThe Cold WarElectronic mass notification gained prominence in 1963 when the U.S. government implemented the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) to quickly warn the entire population of any emergency. In that era, school children routinely participated in nuclear bomb safety drills, and many of us recall a voice declaring over the television or radio, “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. For the next 60 seconds … this is only a test,” followed by a loud, one-minute tone.That system was replaced in 1997 by the Emergency Alert System (EAS), designed to enable the President of the United States to speak to the entire country within minutes. The EAS also relies on TV and radio, but includes analog, digital, terrestrial, and satellite broadcast. EAS is effective for reaching a very large geographical area, but it isn’t flexible enough to target a specific area such