— Problems emerged Wednesday after television and radio stations carried out the first-ever nationwide test of the federal government's Emergency Alert System.
The system was supposed to work in every community across the country, but experienced some problems, NBC News reported. Federal officials told NBC News they did not know how many cities had been affected.
Some parts of the country, like North Dakota and Washington, D.C., waited and waited, but there was no alert, according NBC News and media reports.
Federal officials told NBC News it would take up to 45 days to know of the full scope of issues.
The system is used by state and local agencies but there never had been a national alert. And until Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET there had never even been a national test.
"Although the EAS has been in existence for over 15 years, a nationwide test of the system has never occurred," FEMA said on its website. "FEMA and federal partners are working with the EAS Community to assess if the national-level system will work as designed should officials ever need to send a national alert."
The 2 p.m. timing was chosen to avoid wider disruptions, FEMA said.