By Audrey Spencer
The Cove Herald
FEMA and the FCC conducted a nationwide Emergency Alert System test Wednesday afternoon.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission conducted the test from Washington, D.C., at 1 p.m. Wednesday. It lasted approximately 30 seconds and aired on all radio, local television, cable and satellite systems simultaneously, according to a news release.
The test was a success, and radio and television ads warning people of the test in advance succeeded in stemming confused or panicked local 911 calls.
"I would say it flowed smoothly," said Sgt. Kevin Keller with the Copperas Cove Police Department.
No influx of calls was reported during or after Wednesday's test.
"Everybody apparently got the message and it worked," said Fire Chief Mike Baker, emergency management coordinator for the city.
Baker said the city takes part in First Call, a localized "reverse 911 system" that notifies people in case of local emergency.
"It's for emergencies, such as an evacuation notice, shelter order or a declaration. It's not used to tell people 'Hey, it's gonna rain today,'" said Baker.
Like the national emergency alert system, First Call is tested periodically.
The First Call system is sponsored by the Central Texas Council of Governments. There are no fees for the service, but standard text messaging rates apply for text alerts.
Residents of Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, Mills and San Saba counties can sign up for CTCOG's First Call system with their cellphone or home phones by calling (866) 484-3264 for voice registration or going to http://alertregistration.com/CTCOG.