Nationwide emergency alert will sound on YOUR phone tomorrow

FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) tomorrow, October 4, 2023, at 1:20 pm Central Time. The national test will consist of two portions, testing WEA and EAS capabilities. The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide test, but the second test to all cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset. The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test.

FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission are conducting the test to ensure the system is operational in the event of a national emergency. The National Emergency Alert System is designed to alert people of potential dangers like severe weather or national emergencies like a nuclear attack. It’s also used for AMBER alerts and other types of alerts used for vulnerable missing persons.

The alerts include a series of loud alarms meant to attract attention. These will go off even if devices are set to silent mode. The test will last for about one minute on radio and television, and cellphones should receive the alert within a half-hour of the test starting.

The test system will broadcast a message reading, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” A translated message will be delivered for those whose language is set to Spanish.

In the event of widespread severe weather, a backup test day is set for Oct. 11.

While it is possible to opt out of some local emergency alerts, by law, carriers are not allowed to let customers opt out of national alerts. Even silenced devices will go off, though those in airplane mode should not receive the alert.