Today, FEMA and the FCC are conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system. This test aims to evaluate the performance of the country’s emergency alert systems, which are essential for informing the public about sudden emergencies. These emergencies can include natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes, as well as man-made threats such as nuclear missile strikes or terrorist attacks. The WEA test will be sent to cellular phones, including iPhones and Android phones, at approximately 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time today. The message will state, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” It is important to note that blocking the test message from your phone may not be possible, and the message signal will last for 30 minutes.
Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be conducting a test of the country’s emergency alert system. This test will involve sending a message to nearly every cellular phone in America. It is important to understand what is happening and what to expect during this test.
What are the tests for?
The purpose of these tests is to assess the performance of the country’s emergency alert systems. Federal law requires that the emergency alert system be tested at least every three years, and the last test occurred in 2021. These tests allow FEMA and the FCC to evaluate the effectiveness of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system in warning the public during sudden emergencies.
What do the emergency alert systems warn of?
Both the EAS and WEA are designed to warn the country of sudden emergencies. These emergencies can include natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes, as well as man-made threats such as an incoming nuclear missile strike or terrorist attack. In the event of a large asteroid approaching the Earth, the EAS and WEA would also provide notifications. These systems play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of the public during emergencies.
What time will the emergency alert test send a message to my phone?
The WEA test will be sent to cellular phones today, Wednesday, October 4th, at approximately 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time. The specific times for different time zones are as follows:
- 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time
- 1:20 p.m. Central Time
- 12:20 p.m. Mountain Time
- 11:20 a.m. Pacific Time
- 10:20 a.m. Alaska Time
- 8:20 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Time
It is important to be aware of the timing of the test to ensure that you are prepared.
What will the test message say?
During the test, a message alert will appear on your phone, stating, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” This message will inform you that it is a test and that there is no need to take any immediate action. If your phone’s system language is set to Spanish, you will receive the test message in Spanish, which will say, “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.” This ensures that individuals who speak Spanish can also receive the test message and understand its purpose. Additionally, the alerts are accompanied by a unique tone and vibration to make them accessible to the entire public, including those with disabilities.
Can I block the test from being received on my phone?
Unfortunately, it does not appear that there is an easy way to block your phone from receiving the test message. The emergency alert system will send the message to all phones beginning at 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time. The message signal will last for 30 minutes, so even if your phone is initially out of range of a cellular tower, it will eventually receive the message once it connects to a cellular tower by approximately 2:50 p.m. ET. If you do not wish to receive the test message, you can choose to turn off your phone for the duration of the test period, but keep in mind that this may leave you uninformed during a real emergency. It is advisable to allow your phone to receive the test message to ensure you are aware of its functionality and can rely on it during a genuine emergency situation.
In conclusion, the emergency alert system test conducted by FEMA and the FCC is a crucial step in assessing the effectiveness and performance of the country’s emergency alert systems. These tests help ensure that the public can receive timely and relevant notifications during sudden emergencies. It is important to be aware of the test timing and what the message will say, as well as the inability to block the test message from being received on your phone. By participating in this test, you contribute to the overall safety and preparedness of the nation.