Spring, Texas – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) this Wednesday, August 11. The two tests will begin at 1:20 CST.
According to a FEMA press release, the purpose of the test is “to ensure that the EAS and WEA systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems helps to assess the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure and to identify any needed technological and administrative improvements.”
The tests will be conducted in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the EAS portion being sent to radios and televisions and the WEA portion being sent to consumer cell phones that have opted into the service. This is the second WEA test and the first to be conducted on an opt-in basis.
The EAS test message will say: “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. No action is required.”
The WEA test message will say: “Emergency Alert. This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency System. No action is needed.” The message will display in the language that is currently being used on the device.
To opt into the warning system, consumers can change the preference in their device settings or contact their service provider. Most devices are delivered to the consumer with the emergency alerts disabled.
If the test cannot happen because of a “real-world event,” it will be rescheduled for August 25.
For more information, read the FEMA press release.