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FEMA & FCC to conduct test of national alert systems via phones, radio and TV

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Nationwide tests of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) conducted by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are scheduled for Wednesday, August 11th between 11:20am and 11:50am. The tests will enable assessing the operational readiness of the national alerting infrastructure and to identify any needed technological and administrative improvements.

The WEA portion of the test will be directed only to consumer cell phones where the cell service subscriber has opted-in to receive test messages. Anyone who has opted to receive test messages on their wireless phone will receive the message. The following can be expected from the nationwide test according to a FEMA press release.

  • Beginning at 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones where the subscriber has opted-in to receive test messages, 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. Wireless phones should receive the message only once.
  • For consumers who have opted in to receive WEA test messages, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
  • Opt-in 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 EAS portion of the test will be sent via AM, FM and satellite radio, as well as broadcast, cable and satellite TV. The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages. It will state: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. No action is required.”

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