Nationwide tests of the US Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system will send messages to all TVs, radios, and cell phones today, October 4, starting around 2:20 p.m. pm ET.
“Today’s national test will have two parts, the WEA test and the EAS capabilities,” FEMA said yesterday. “The WEA portion of the test will be directed to consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide test, but the second test to all WEA compatible cellular devices. The test message will be displayed in either English or Spanish, depending on the language setting of the wireless phone.”
The goal “is to ensure that the systems continue to be an effective way of warning the public about emergencies, especially those at the national level.” If today’s test is postponed “due to widespread weather or other special events, the backup test date is October 11.”
Cell towers will send messages to phones in your area
Starting around 2:20 p.m. ET, “cell towers will be spread throughout the test for approximately 30 minutes,” FEMA said. “At this time, wireless phones compatible with WEA that are on, within the range of an active cell tower, and in an area where the wireless provider participates in WEA, should be able to receive the message the test.”
The message will read, “THIS IS A TEST OF THE NATIONAL WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM. NO ACTION IS REQUIRED.” The alert tone “usually only sounds when the phone initially receives an alert and on some devices it stops once the user presses a button,” FEMA said. Each phone should receive the message once.
The alert to TVs and radios “is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will likely involve radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers,” FEMA said. . It is the seventh national examination of the EAS.
In advance of the trial, domestic violence groups have warned people who live with their abusers to turn off any hidden phones. “Receiving alerts such as Amber Alerts is a common occurrence for cell phone owners and is a feature that can be turned off through your phone settings for year-round protection from unexpected alerts,” the National Network from End Domestic Violence tell. “However, this upcoming national test is not an alarm that can be disabled or turned off within the device. Therefore, the rest should turn off their devices during the test and do not schedule phone calls on the cell phone who was hidden during that time.”
According to FEMA, “If a phone is turned off before the test alert is sent and is not turned back on until after the WEA test is complete (about 30 minutes), the phone should not receive the test message.”