All consumer cell phones and radio and TV stations will receive a test message on Wednesday at approximately 2:20 p.m. from the Emergency Alert System, or EAS, and Wireless Emergency Alert, WEA.
The test is being done by FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission.
The purpose of the test is to ensure that the systems continue to be an effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.
In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11.
Domestic violence warning
If you have a second phone due to a domestic violence or other situation, you may wish to shut your phone off during the test, according to safehope.
Even if the phone is on silent, advocates warn your phone may still make a noise, vibrate or read out the alert.
EAS alert: Radios and televisions
The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test.
The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers.
The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. It 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.
This year the EAS message will be disseminated as a Common Alerting Protocol message via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System-Open Platform for Emergency Networks.
WEA alert: Cellular devices
The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide test, and the second test to all cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.
All wireless phones should receive the message only once.
Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA, should be capable of receiving the test message.
For consumers, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Phones with the main menu set to Spanish will display: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
WEA alerts are created and sent by authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government agencies through IPAWS to participating wireless providers, which deliver the alerts to compatible handsets in geo-targeted areas. To help ensure that these alerts are accessible to the entire public, including people with disabilities, the alerts are accompanied by a unique tone and vibration.
The WEA portion of the test will be initiated using FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, a centralized internet-based system administered by FEMA that enables authorities to send authenticated emergency messages to the public through multiple communications networks.