Nationwide FEMA alert system test Wednesday

UTAH — Expect an interesting notification on Wednesday, Oct. 4, as FEMA will conduct a national warning system test in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission.

According to a press release from FEMA, this will test the capabilities of both the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which sends public warnings over radio and television, and the Wireless Emergency Alerts system (WEA), which sends public warnings directly to wireless devices.

These systems could be used to issue warnings in the case of national emergencies, imminent threats such as extreme weather or active shooters, or child abduction.

The EAS portion of the test will display the following message to all radios and televisions for approximately one minute: “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.”

The WEA portion will send alerts to all consumer cell phones that will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed,” in either Spanish or English, depending on the settings of the cell phone.

All cell phones that are switched on, within range and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should receive the test message.

Both tests are scheduled to begin at 12:20 p.m. MT. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test and the third nationwide WEA test, but only the second test where notifications will be sent to all cellular devices.

“The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level,” stated the press release. “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.”

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