Emergency Alert System Test Wednesday

WASHINGTON –The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission will be holding a test of the nationwide Emergency Alert System and the Emergency Wireless Alert System tomorrow. A signal will be sent to every cell phone in the nation that is turned on, within range of a tower and gets service from a participating provider. Cell towers will be broadcasting the signal for 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 Eastern on Wednesday afternoon. Phones should only receive the alert once.

Phones should only receive the alert, which will say “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” This is the fourth nationwide EAS test and the first national test for the Wireless Alert System. The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. Participating television and radio broadcasters will sound an audible tone and will display a message that is similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test.

The test was originally scheduled for September 20th but was postponed due to ongoing response efforts for Hurricane Florence.

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