top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. CK Bray

This Is Only a Test!

Those lucky enough to grow up in the 1970s, ’80s, and 90’s, Saturday morning cartoons were often interrupted by a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. A long, loud, and high-pitched “BEEEEP” would interrupt current programming and sound for at least 30 seconds while you looked at striped lines on the tv. At the end of the test, you would hear the familiar phrase of “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this has been an actual emergency…”

The Emergency Broadcast System sound and words have their very own neural network in my brain. If I hear the loud beep, I often repeat out loud, like a zombie, “This is a test. This is only a test.” No wonder I do this; the emergency system was activated more than 20,000 times between 1976 and 1996 but, if you can believe this, it was never used in an actual emergency.

The first time I heard the test, my brain went right to fight or flight. Something severe and terrible was going to occur. Why else would they interrupt Saturday cartoons? But nothing awful ever happened, and the EBS never had to be used for an emergency

You have emergency signals broadcasting messages to you every day. They are loud, repetitive, and ready for you to memorize and repeat at any moment.

You can’t do that!

You don’t belong!

You are too old or not old enough!

Unfortunately, the world decided to jump in on the EBS system and make sure that you know every catastrophe and terrible thing occurring around you. They are broadcasting to you 20,000 times a day, rather than over twenty years.

Don’t believe the EBS system when the alarm goes off in your head. Things are much better than you realize.




bottom of page