Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This Day in Pop Culture for February 20

Emergency Broadcast System was accidentally activated on February 20, 1971

Emergency Broadcast System is Accidentally Activated

Oops. Despite actions to protect this sort of thing happening, the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) was accidentally activated on this day in 1971 at 9:33 a.m. Apparently, a teletype operator played the wrong tape stressing the TV stations stop their regular programming and broadcast the alert of a national emergency. It took 40 minutes and six incorrect cancellation messages to be sent in order for the activation to be terminated. Ironically, many of the stations never received the alert in the first place and those that did ignored the instructions thinking that it was “just a test.” Needless to say, many changes were implemented to the EBS that week. A similar scare happened on January 13, 2018 when Hawaiians received a ballistic missle threat notice telling them to seek shelter immediately. Hawaii Govenor David Ige claimed that the false alarm was a case of simply pressing the wrong button. It didn't necessarily make anyone feel better.