UPDATE: Federal emergency management officials have decided to delay testing of the national emergency alert system and wireless emergency alert system until Oct. 3, with emergency efforts still underway in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Federal Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on Thursday, Sept. 20, with a backup date of Oct. 3. The WEA portion of the test will be at 1:18 p.m., and the EAS portion will follow at 1:20 p.m. This test is being held to assess the infrastructure for distribution of a national message.
This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. The WEA test will be sent to cellphones.
The EAS test is scheduled to last one minute and is available to EAS participants including radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers. This test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages. The EAS message will reference the WEA test. “THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cellphones nationwide. Some cellphones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”
The WEA test message will read “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Customers of wireless providers who participate in WEA and who own a WEA compatible wireless phone to receive geo-targeted alerts of imminent threats to safety in their area through unique tones and vibration. The national WEA test will use the same special tone and vibration.
WEA is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alert on cell phones. The WEA test will be sent through Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), as part of the modern alert and warning infrastructure that automatically authenticates alerts.
Significant coordination has been conducted with EAS participants, wireless providers, and emergency managers in preparation for this EAS-WEA national test. The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and system that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster.
More information about Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and Wireless Emergency Alerts is available at www.ready.gov/alerts.