National EAS Test on Wednesday Includes Cell Phones

National EAS Test on Wednesday Includes Cell Phones

The National Emergency Alert System (EAS) test is a nationwide test conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to evaluate the effectiveness and functionality of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The test is scheduled for Wednesday, October 4th at approximately 12:20PM Mountain Time and will include Broadcast Television, Radio, and Cellphone alerts. The EAS is a public warning system in the United States that allows authorized governmental authorities to quickly distribute emergency messages, including alerts for severe weather, natural disasters, Amber Alerts (child abduction alerts), local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, and presidential emergency messages.

What to know:

  1. Purpose of the Test: The test is intended to assess and ensure the readiness of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System, which includes Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) that can be sent to cell phones, radios, and TVs. The goal is to make sure the system is prepared for a real crisis.
  2. WEA Functionality: The Wireless Emergency Alert system is capable of broadcasting alerts for various types of emergencies, including AMBER alerts, imminent threats, public safety notices, and presidential notices in a national emergency.
  3. Notification Message: Cell phones set to English will receive a message at around 2:20 PM ET that reads, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” For those with phones set to Spanish, the message will be in Spanish.
  4. Alert Sound: The alert will be accompanied by a unique tone and vibration, which is often described as a jarring and obnoxious alarm to get people’s attention.
  5. Television and Radio Test: The Emergency Alert System (EAS) will also be tested simultaneously on television and radio. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test.
  6. Duration: The cell phone portion of the test is scheduled to last for about 30 minutes. However, individuals should be able to dismiss the notification as soon as they receive it.
  7. Backup Date: In the unlikely event of an actual emergency on Wednesday, the test will be rescheduled to the backup date of October 11.
  8. If you are in an unsafe domestic situation and happen to have a hidden secondary phone please be aware that this phone will make noise, vibrate, and or read out the alert even if on silent mode. Turn your phone off if you do not wish to receive the alert. If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, there is help. Call the YWCA at 307-352-6635.

According to a press release from FEMA, it is essential for the public to be aware of such tests and understand that they are designed to ensure the effectiveness of emergency alert systems. This way, when a real emergency occurs, people will be better prepared to receive and respond to alerts and instructions from authorities.

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