Happening Wednesday, October 4th at 2:20 PM ET, FEMA will be conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). Test messages will be sent to all cell phones with emergency alerts enabled, TVs and radios. The test is broken down into two parts:
Test messages are sent to radios and televisions. From FEMA:
The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers.
The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. It will state: “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.
These are sent to cell phones only. The test will display in English or Spanish, depending on the user language settings. The following is from FEMA:
All wireless phones should receive the message only once. The following can be expected from the nationwide WEA test:
Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA, should be capable of receiving the test message.
For consumers, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Phones with the main menu set to Spanish will display: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
The test sections will happen at the same time, so if you are listening to the radio and have your cell phone expect to hear both messages. According to FEMA, "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."
In case of widespread severe weather or events, the backup/postponement day will be for October 11th.