Challenges during first nationwide emergency alert test

A first-ever nationwide test of the emergency alert system took place Wednesday afternoon at 1:00, and it did not go as smoothly as planned, as quite a few cable stations across the country, including Time Warner Cable in Wisconsin, switched to QVC, instead of the test.

The test was meant to be quick, similar to the National Weather Service tests broadcast on radio and television. The test involved a tone, alerting an operator and triggering the Emergency Alert System to accept the message in both text and audio.

Wednesday's test was the first nationwide test, and was in preparation for a real emergency. Should such an emergency exist, President Obama could initiate the system to deliver a message, if all other means of communication should fail.

At FOX6 Wednesday, the test worked just as it should. John Workman, FOX6's engineering vice-president says testing the system is very important.

"I fully expect the FCC and FEMA will release some kind of report, analyzing the results of this, and what they found, and what they see as areas that may need to be fixed," Workman said.