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The original item was published from 9/14/2018 12:21:48 PM to 10/5/2018 12:00:08 AM.

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Emergency Management Agency News

Posted on: September 14, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test - Thursday September 20th, 2018 at 2:20pm

As a friendly reminder, FEMA will be conducting a nationwide Emergency Alert System test on September 20th, 2018 at 2:20pm. This will include both Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The WEA is an alert that you will receive on your cell phone, while the EAS are alerts that you may receive on radio, TV, or your weather radio.

The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test: 

“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. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.” 

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones 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. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. 

The WEA test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of the WEA test. FEMA has established a special webpage with a Fact Sheet on the test: 

If circumstances, such as a major weather event, cause the IPAWS National Test to be postponed, the back-up date is Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

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