People in the United States should not be worried when they receive alert on their phones this afternoon.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of Wireless Emergency Alerts and Emergency Alert Systems Wednesday, Oct. 3. The WEA portion of the test begins at 1:18 p.m. and the EAS portion follows at 1:20 p.m. This is the first national test and the fourth EAS nationwide test.
Citizens will be notified by phone. Phones will sound and vibrate once during the 30-minute test window, between 1:18 p.m. and 1:48 p.m. in Minnesota. Cellular phones, which are switched on, will sound loudly and vibrate. Mobile phone users will receive a one-time message that says, “This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Cellular phones in the off or airplane mode position will receive a message if turned on during the test window. The notification is simply a test to ensure citizens are informed during the event of an emergency, such as dangerous weather, missing children, tornado warnings, AMBER ALERTS and other situations.
Users cannot opt out of the WEA test.
The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. Participating broadcasters will sound an audible tone at 1:20 p.m. and will display a message that is similar to regular monthly EAS test messages. The test will last approximately one minute. The test is available to radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers.
The alert testing was scheduled for Sept. 20, but it was postponed due to response efforts for Hurricane Florence.