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Testing the emergency alert system on your phone, television and radio on Wednesday October 4. Here’s what you can expect


Get ready, it’s coming. On Wednesday, October 4 at 2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT, your cell phone, radio, or television will emit a jarring electronic noise that will signal a test of the National Emergency Alert System (EAS).

This is a coordinated effort between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to test the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

According to FEMA, it could be postponed until October 11 in the event of severe weather or other significant events.

The process consists of two parts: a 30-minute signal sent to radios and televisions under the EAS, and a similar signal sent to all consumer cell phones under the WEA system.

Federal law requires that systems be tested at least once every three years. The last national test took place on August 11, 2021.

According to FEMA spokesman Jeremy Edwards, the audio signal used for testing uses the same combination of tones familiar to Americans since 1963, when President John F. Kennedy established the original emergency broadcast system by the through a decree. It’s also the same tone used by more than 1,700 local, state, territorial and tribal authorities to send similar alerts for more localized emergencies.

Last month, a conspiracy theory about the health impacts of the test spread on social media.

Stanley Perlman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, said these claims appear to reference old myths about the contents of COVID vaccines. These baseless conspiracy theories claim – without evidence – that vaccines contain various materials, such as graphene oxide or other nanoparticles, that can interact with wireless communications technology and allow governments to control and to monitor people.

But graphene oxide — a material made from oxidizing graphite — is not an ingredient in COVID vaccines, notes Matthew Laurens, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health. University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“Graphene oxide was used only to study the structure of the vaccine and is not part of the vaccine formulation,” he wrote in an email.

Regardless, the idea that graphene oxide can be “activated” in this way is “absurd,” wrote Julia Greer, a materials science professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who used graphene oxide in his research, in an email.

“You can’t ‘turn on’ graphene oxide,” she wrote. “What does it mean?”

The nanoparticles contained in vaccines, for their part, are lipids, or fats, generally used as a coating material. They are sometimes described as “programmable” because they can be changed and adjusted as needed, experts say. This does not mean that they can be programmed to interact with wireless networks.

There is also nothing nefarious about the routine tests that FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission will conduct next month. Such tests have been done regularly for years with no reports of adverse health effects from the system’s signals, Edwards said.

ABC News and Associated Press writer Philip Marcelo in New York contributed to this report.

ABC7

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