FEMA Conductiing Nationwide Emergency Alert Test Today, October 4th

Posted on October 4, 2023

FEMA is conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) today, October 4th. The test is being coordinated with the FCC. It will include testing of all consumer cell phones.

The testing is scheduled to begin at 2:20 pm ET. FEMA says the message to cell phones will be either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

FEMA says wireless phone will receive the message once. Here is what you can expect.

  1. 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 in a geographic area where the wireless provider participates in WEA, should be capable of receiving the test message.
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.”
  4. Similar to when your phone receives an Amber Alert, the WEA alert tone is generally only played when the alert is initially received by the phone and on some devices stops as soon as the user clicks a button.
  5. If a phone is off before the test alert is sent and not turned back on until after the WEA Test expires (approximately 30 minutes), the phone should not get the test message.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell explains the nationwide test in the following video:

More from Science Space & Robots