The federal government will be conducting a nationwide alert test on October 4 to test the National Wireless Emergency Alert System and ensure its readiness for a real crisis. The test will involve sending notifications to cell phones, radios, and TVs. The cellphone portion of the test will assess Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) nationwide, which can broadcast signals for imminent threats, public safety, and presidential notices in a national emergency. The test will utilize FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), a centralized internet-based system for broadcasting emergency notifications.
During the test, cell phone users will receive a message at around 2:20 PM ET, stating that it is a test and no action is needed. Those with their phones set to Spanish will receive a message in Spanish. The messages will be accompanied by a unique tone and vibration that has been described in the past as a jarring and obnoxious alarm. The television and radio portion of the test will happen simultaneously using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), marking the seventh nationwide EAS test.
The cell phone part of the test is expected to last for about 30 minutes, and users will be able to dismiss the notification and silence their phones once they see and hear it. In the unlikely event of an actual emergency on October 4, the test will be postponed to the backup date of October 11. This nationwide alert test aims to ensure the effectiveness and familiarity of the emergency alert system in the event of a real crisis.