FCC to Conduct Nationwide Emergency Alert Test Today
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) TODAY, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, at approximately 1:20 p.m. CST.
Your cell phone MAY send out a rude, jarring audio alert at this time. Don’t panic. It is only a test. You should also receive a text message that indicates: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Federal rules require all EAS participants to participate in testing. This includes radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers. FEMA will send a national test message to participating stations. The test will verify the delivery and broadcast of the message, assess the operational readiness to distribute the message, and determine any improvements that are needed.
The WEA portion of the test will be disseminated by wireless providers that have chosen to participate in WEA. Cell towers will broadcast the test message for 30 minutes. Members of the public will be able to receive the message if their phone is WEA-capable, switched on and within range of an active cell tower, and their wireless carrier participates in WEA. There are no charges for the delivery of WEA messages and the alerts resemble a text message.
This is the third national WEA test. Unlike the previous test, which was delivered to users who opted-in to receive test messages, this year’s test message will be sent to all compatible cellular phones that are in range of cellular service. The message will be delivered using a unique tone and vibration. It will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Following the tests, FEMA is planning to conduct a targeted survey in conjunction with the nationwide WEA test. The survey participants have been notified and will provide their feedback on the test to help FEMA capture information about the geographic reach of the WEA alert message. Results of the survey will help FEMA and other WEA stakeholders — the FCC, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and public safety officials — enhance and expand WEA even further.
More information on how to enable WEAs on your mobile device can be found at https://readywisconsin.wi.gov/be-informed/be-alert/.