Emergency Test Does Not Pass

Nationwide test of emergency warning system fails to go smoothly.
2:40 | 11/09/11

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Transcript for Emergency Test Does Not Pass
If you were sitting by television or radio today you may have seen or heard it or you may have not. It was supposed to be the nation's first big broadcast test of an emergency warning system to rally all of us in times of trouble but instead. It was a crazy quilt of what can go wrong ABC's Ron Claiborne explains. All across America the countdown was -- the first ever nationwide test of the emergency. Alert system. The government plan to send out a test alert to every radio and television station. And cable system in the country under a minute millions of Americans will witness history then the big moment at 2 o'clock eastern time. Instead of a coordinated national warning. This on HBO the movie night and day -- uninterrupted. Parliament -- some folks saw a warning picture but heard nothing. Perhaps most bizarre of all anyone watching DirecTV sought the emergency -- -- on the screen. But instead of the voice of the government official they heard this. Lady Gaga and her -- paparazzi. Twitter was a Twitter. Message was garbled and duplicated and overlapping. Crazy -- always with a weird blue screen. Just floods. The signal was supposed to go to relay points in every state have -- cascade two radio and television stations. Although many stations did transmit the alert as -- clearly something somewhere went badly awry. I'll take the criticism and people were happy but we need to test things to find out what works what doesn't work or were never got to know the answers to fix this system. And make sure it's ready when -- it. Unlike the civil defense warnings from the 1960s. This alert is intended for the very rare national emergency but many people we spoke to today said they would not have seen or heard it anyway. Because they weren't watching television or listening to radio. There has to be another way of delivering -- news in addition to live TV and radio. The government plans to expand the alert system so that people can sign up to get the warnings as text messages but that -- now have to wait. Do they get his first step right. And one person who heard lady -- up playing over the emergency alert -- so in the event of an actual emergency get up and dance. The FEMA and the SEC were not amused at all by any of this but they did say that test. Actually served its purpose -- -- -- Diane gaps. In the alert system they gonna try to against them within a figure out what went wrong first and -- -- -- went to a test again next year some all the things that went all wrong but says it's good to see you around thanks so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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