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Testing of Wireless Emergency Alerts and the Emergency Alert System October 3, 2018 at 11:18 a.m.

By Aaron Briner
Oct 02, 2018 at 08:05 PM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communciations Commission (FCC) will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on October 3, 2018. 

The WEA portion of the test will start at 11:18 (Pacific Standard Time). The WEA system is used to warn the public about threatening weather conditions, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The tone used for this test will be the same tone and vibration utilized for all WEA messages such as an AMBER Alert. The message that will be sent over the WEA for the test will state, “Presidential Alert”; “This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” During this test, WEA compatible cell phones that are turned “on”, within range of a cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should receive the test. There will only be one message sent for the test. 

The EAS test will start at 11:20 a.m. The EAS participants include radio and television broadcasters, cable, satellite  and television providers, and wireline video providers. The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test message will be similar to the monthly EAS test, and will include a reference to the WEA test, which 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 and official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.” 

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