The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) set for Wednesday, October 4, at 2:20 p.m. ET.
This test will include two components:
- WEA Testing: This segment, targeting consumer cell phones, will mark the third nationwide test of its kind, with the second focusing on all WEA-compatible devices. Depending on device settings, the test message will appear in either English or Spanish.
- EAS Testing: Radios and televisions will receive this alert, marking the seventh nationwide EAS test.
Both the WEA and EAS tests are parts of the larger emergency communication framework. Ahead of the test, FEMA and the FCC are collaborating with EAS participants, wireless service providers, emergency management personnel, and other stakeholders.
The primary goal of this nationwide test is to gauge the effectiveness of these systems in alerting the public about national emergencies. Should there be a need to reschedule the October 4 test, due to extensive severe weather or other significant events, the alternative test date is October 11, FEMA says in a statement.
Here’s what to expect on your phones tomorrow:
- At around 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will transmit the test for about 30 minutes.
- WEA-compatible mobile phones, if turned on, within an active cell tower’s range, and located in an area where their carrier supports WEA, should receive the test alert.
- The message will state: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” For Spanish language settings, the alert will read: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
- Much like Amber Alerts, the WEA tone will only sound when the alert first reaches the device, and on some devices, it will cease upon user interaction.
- Phones that remain off during the entire 30-minute test duration will not receive the message.
Residents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the test’s parameters to avoid any undue alarm when the systems are activated tomorrow.