FEMA, in collaboration with the FCC, will conduct a nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) test this fall. The test will have two parts, assessing WEA and EAS capabilities, beginning at approximately 1:20 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The WEA test will target all consumer cell phones, with the message appearing in either English or Spanish based on the handset's language settings. This will be the third nationwide test but the second for all cellular devices. The EAS portion will target radios and televisions, marking the seventh nationwide EAS test.
FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with various stakeholders to ensure the test's effectiveness and minimize confusion.
The Oct. 4 test aims to confirm the systems' ability to warn the public about emergencies, especially at the national level. In case of postponement due to severe weather or significant events, the backup date is Oct. 11.
The WEA portion will utilize FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), sending a code to cell phones. The EAS message this year will be disseminated as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System-Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN).
Wireless phones should receive the message once, displaying: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed." Spanish settings will read: "ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción."
WEA alerts are sent by authorized government agencies through IPAWS to participating wireless providers, who deliver them to compatible handsets in geo-targeted areas. Alerts include unique tones and vibrations for accessibility.
Key details about the EAS test:
- Scheduled to last about one minute
- Involves radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio/TV providers, and wireline video providers
- The message will resemble regular monthly EAS test messages, stating it's a nationwide test, issued by FEMA, covering the U.S. from 13:20 to 13:50 hours CT, requiring no action from the public.