Nationwide Emergency Alert Test: Don’t panic when you receive messages on your phone and TV

Warning: Your phone, TV and radio will receive emergency messages in less than two weeks as part of a national government test. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are partnering to test their emergency alert systems across the United States on October 4.

The Wireless Emergency Alert System, or WEA, for phones is being tested along with the Emergency Alert System, or EAS, for televisions and radios. This is the seventh EAS test nationwide and the second test on all cellular devices in the United States.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What you need to know about the emergency alert test

At approximately 2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT on October 4, cell towers will begin broadcasting the emergency alert for 30 minutes. If your phone is within range of a cell tower, you will receive a message saying: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is necessary.”

Emergency alerts will be in English or Spanish, depending on the language set on your phone. Phone alerts will be “accompanied by a unique tone and vibration” to make them as accessible as possible.

The alert sent to televisions and radios will last 1 minute and state: “This is a national test of the emergency alert system, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States United from 2:20 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. ET. “This is just a test. No action is required from the public. “

If severe weather conditions or another event occurs on October 4, the test will be rescheduled until October 11.

What types of events trigger emergency alerts?

Here are the types of WEA and EAS alerts that might be sent to you in untested situations:

  • Public safety alerts.
  • AMBER alerts during child abduction crises.
  • Presidential alerts for national emergencies.

Alerts are also sent for imminent threats such as:

  • Severe weather alerts and natural disasters from the National Weather Service, such as flash floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, typhoons, storm surges, extreme winds, dust storms and snow squalls .
  • Active shooters.
  • Man-made disasters.
  • Blue alerts when law enforcement officers are attacked.
  • Other threatening emergencies.

WEA messages are not affected by network congestion.


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