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FEMA emergency signal flops in Oregon

The first nationwide test of an emergency broadcast signal flopped in Oregon. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management, based in Salem, said Wednesday that reports are coming in from radio and television stations around the state — and most say they didn't get the signal, or did not get it well.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it is aware the broadcast did not work everywhere and is looking into why.

The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System went off at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Oregon. If it had worked properly, it would have broadcast a test emergency alert on all TV and radio stations in the country simultaneously. But that didn't happen.

"It was a test, and obviously there were some glitches," said Jennifer Chamberlain, OEM spokeswoman. "You know how computers don't always speak to each other? That's what I think they were running into."

Chamberlain said that if there were a real nationwide emergency, the Oregon system could relay the information regardless of its ability to connect with the national broadcast. The OEM system is tested monthly.

She also said the failed test should not be a cause for concern, as FEMA officials are looking into causes of the error and because of various other resources available to spread the message, such as social networking sites.

"I think the more the better. Let's use all the means possible," Chamberlain said.