September 6, 2018

FEMA to Conduct Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert System this Month

WEA messages are transmitted through an individual’s cell phone. The WEA capacity is installed by the manufacturers of cell phones. They produce a loud alert signal, which if you haven’t heard it before, could come as a surprise. The alert volume can be controlled by individual cell phone settings. The text message will be: “This is a test. No action is needed.”

This past April, through the Metropolitan Council of Governments, emergency managers throughout our region, planned and conducted a regional test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system (WEA). Now the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of both WEA and the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The primary date selected is Thursday, Sept. 20. If a real emergency were to occur on that date, the secondary date for testing is Oct. 3. The WEA test would take place at 2:18 p.m. and the EAS test is scheduled to follow at 2:20 p.m.

The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public during an emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine whether technological improvements are needed.
The EAS test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and is made available to EAS participants including radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers. The message begins with: “This is a test of the National Emergency Alert System.”

Learn more from FEMA’s press release.