Nationwide Emergency Alert Test Planned for Oct. 4: What You Should Know
FEMA, working alongside the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is set to do a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) across the entire country. This nationwide test will be divided into two parts, evaluating the capabilities of WEA and EAS. Both assessments are set to begin around 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 4.
The WEA part of the test will reach everyone’s cell phones. This will be the third time they’ve done a nationwide test, but only the second one that includes all cellular devices, according to a news release. The test message will pop up in either English or Spanish, depending on what language your phone is set to. Now, the test’s EAS part will be broadcast on radios and TVs. According to FEMA, this will be the seventh nationwide EAS test.
FEMA and the FCC are working with EAS, wireless providers, emergency managers, and other essential entities to prepare for this national test. They’re doing all this to ensure it goes smoothly and keeps everyone safe, with no confusion.
What’s the purpose of the Oct. 4 test?
The October 4 test is about making sure these systems still work well in alerting the public during national emergencies. If the October 4 test is rescheduled due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the backup testing date is set for October 11. According to FEMA, to ensure broad accessibility, the alerts will include a unique tone and vibration on cellular devices. All wireless phones should receive the message only once.
What to expect the day of the nationwide emergency test alert?
During the nationwide WEA test, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes starting at around 2:20 p.m. ET. If you have a WEA-compatible wireless phone powered on and within range of an active cell tower, and your wireless provider is part of WEA, you should receive the FEMA test message.
Consumers’ phone messages will say: ” THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” For phones set to Spanish as the main menu language, the message will be: ” ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
The EAS part of the test is scheduled to last about one minute and will involve participation from radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers. The test message will resemble the familiar monthly EAS test messages and will state: ” This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”